Social Media Mania – Is it all just hype?

Social Media Mania – 10 points to help you get started

Social Media Mania has swept the globe, but how useful is social media in terms of marketing a business? Is the term social media just a buzz term that people want to talk about as more new and exciting aps and sites become available? Do marketers take the time to evaluate the benefits of using social media sites and if they do, are they getting the results they are looking for?

Like any marketing campaign, social media marketing means careful strategic planning and sticking to a detailed timescale, followed by the most important stage, evaluation. If this is done correctly then, yes, Social Media can be very beneficial to a business – both in terms of customer retention and customer acquisition. They key is understanding which media will meet the needs of your business. Are you looking specifically in to finding out how to improve a product or if a customer would find a new product useful? Then maybe setting up a Facebook group would be a good place to start.

Below is a Social Media chart that gives a, nearly, complete map of the various methods that are out there for marketers and businesses to use. Not all of these are relevant to every sector and this is why carrying out a little market research, before giving time to social media, is better than jumping in head first, and realising that you are not receiving the right sort of customer response.

Here are 10 points to help you get started

  1. Know your audience – what market is the business you’re promoting aiming at? Have a good look at the characteristics of your customers. Find out what networks that they use.
  2. Target your audience by using social networks that meet the specifications of your customers. It is no good using Beebo to connect to a mainly middle aged, male customer base as the majority of users are in their mid teens.
  3. Write up a social media strategy and plan what it is you want to say, or what you would like to achieve from each of the sites. Research how people use the sites. People that use Youtube, for example, are less likely to watch a video if it is not extremely entertaining, so there is no point in uploading an ad that would be suitable for TV and then hope that people will watch it. It has to be informative, quirky and fast paced.  This Youtube Ad for example has reached 589,862 viewers with a previous ad reaching nearly 10,000 viewers by advertising durable machinery by blending all new Apple releases such as the iphone – Blndtec were ahead of the game. People watch because of the iphone not because of the blender quality but between 10 and 15,000 people have seen the equipment work well enough to blend a smartphone. (see vidoe below, its worth it.)
  4. Know your business and be ready to talk about it online via a Blog and by instant and quick posting, such as Twitter and quick blog. Make this part of your everyday routine. This can help you to keep up with sector news and competitor research as you find yourself searching online for the most current news.
  5. Once the strategy is complete (this could be a simple flow chart) work out how often you have time to Blog, tweet and update your news online. The more regular the better.
  6. Link your social medias together with pingfm this way it saves you time in updating each of them separately.
  7. Capture the needs of your customer, use networks such as Facebook, to keep in touch with your clients. This is a very good way of getting feedback from people that already use your product or service.
  8. Don’t join your personal accounts with your work accounts as it is better to have a business image that your customers can rely on.
  9. Open a linked In account – this is a good way of marketing to customers to let them know about events or promotions and also to keep an eye on competitors.
  10. If you have a little extra time one day then write a few Blogs at once and release them at even intervals so people know when to return.

All in all Social Media looks like it will become more refined so businesses that aren’t already using this method of marketing should seriously take a look at the possiblilities.

A new report shows that the growth pattern of people who are 35+ using Facebook has slowed down in the US. If this pattern were to continue it would mean that there would be a change in the way that businesses market to this group. There may in the future be a new SM site that will cater for this age group better than Facebook or, that Facebook will find new ways to attract these key members. Either way my point here is that there is business benefits from understanding what changes occur across the Social Media sites that you choose to use. When you feel ready have a look at sites like Socialbakers.

Socialbakers – Facebook statistics

Personally I figure that the growth rate is sure to rise in terms of new customers at first but as people change age from the below age bracket to the 35 + they are likely to already be Facebook members. It will be interesting to find out how this pans out. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, it looks like there is still a growing market so for businesses using Facebook to connect with customers in the US there should be no need to adapt your strategy yet. As metioned in the report, the next five years should be interesting times as the growth of new people opening accounts will slow down so there will be more ways of finding out what people want. Customer retention rather than aquisition.

www.emarketer.com/socialmediagrowthUS

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