Thursday, August 23, 2012

Does Your Business Need Social Media?

 Is social media right for your business? Not necessarily.

There are many good reasons to use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn and so on.

They connect the world.
  • 78% of all Americans, 61% of Europeans, 67% of Oceania/Australia use the Internet. (Internet World Stats) 
  • Of American users 
    • One out of every six minutes spent online is on a social network (comScore) 
    • 96 percent of Americans use Facebook (Business Insider) 
    • 42 percent of American internet users over 18 actively use Wikipedia (Pew) 
    • The average media site integrated with Facebook has seen a 300 percent increase in referral traffic (Search Engine Land) 
They are highly visual.
  • Of all social networks, YouTube has the highest Net Promoter Score with 50 percent of users saying they would recommend it to a friend (MarketingProfs) 
People are primed for curation.
  • Pictures replace the antiquated click here. As a result, in only a couple of years, Pinterest has surpassed LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube as a traffic referrer. 

Hot stuff.

But this opportunity comes with responsibility.

Social media are about building community. If you or your company is entering the sacred space of personal connection, you better check your "tell" and "sell" at the door.

More, by and large, these are among the most sophisticated buyers on the planet. They love to surf the Internet. They love, love, love the convenience and ease of Internet shopping. But they won't be toyed with. So forcing registration before permitting a prospect to browse your e-commerce website or spamming a special-interest board with frank sales offers are frankly counter-productive.

Lastly, getting recognition and building fans online demands both a talent for small talk and a ton of time. You can't fake it.

At this stage of the marketing game, I'm looking skeptically at social media as a viable part of a seamless media mix. And I evaluate them just as I evaluate any other medium.

1. What do you expect to gain from participation?
2. How well do the demographics match your target market?
3. What is the potential reach within your target market?
4. How much will it cost?
5. Do you or someone in your organization have the time and talent to make an impact here?
6. How do you track and measure results?

If results fall short of expectations, the medium is not a good use of your time and money. What's next?

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