Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. I’m sure you have heard of them. They are what the kids are doing on the computer, right? WRONG! They are the internet media channels through which engaged professionals communicate, gather and disseminate information in real time. It is called Social Media and if you and your organization are not engaged, you are missing out. That’s OK as long as your denial is intact, but consider these statistics:
- If Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s 4th largest between the United States and Indonesia. (socialnomics.net)
- Twitter has more than 6 million unique visitors and 55 million total visitors per month (Compete study).
- 15% of online time is spent on Social Media (Compete).
- Facebook has recently hit the 100 Million monthly user mark (Facebook).
- Social Media reaches virtually every age group. (Ad-Ology)
- 80% of companies used LinkedIn as a primary tool to find employees. (socialnomics.net)
I don’t normally post a bunch of statistics in my articles, but I realize there may be some left-brainers who like to crunch numbers and need some convincing. The numbers tell me that if you are not engaged in Social Media, you need to start. Start somewhere. Start anywhere! A good place to start is at www.SMC.org, where a growing of business are gathering to participate in PA Business Social Media.
There is opportunity lying in wait for those businesses who are engaging in social media. Corporations understand this. While gathering my research for a social media training seminar, I came across a study of the top 100 global brands’ social media practices. The study establishes a direct correlation between profitability and the number of social media channels and the depth of involvement within those channels. Are you still not convinced? How about this statistic; those highly engaged in social media reported an average of 18% increased growth, and those least engaged reported an average of -6% growth. These companies consider it significant enough to establish social media marketing departments to engage that segment of their client base.
Another study shows that CEO’s and Presidents are not personally engaging as quickly nor do they understand why the need to and that’s the reason I’m writing this article. In light of the study sighted above and the fact that most CEO’s are not yet engaged, what does that tell you? Engage and engage now! There is opportunity to exploit.
The good news is that social media is just beneficial to the large corporation. Any size company can get into the social media market. A small pizza place in New Orleans reported a one day sales record when 68% of their customers called in orders from Twitter. They also reported that 85% of their new customers resulted from their Twitter efforts. (I’ll take the thin crust with sausage and onions please.)
If you are engaged, you are filling a huge void that other Presidents are business are not. Potential clients are digging for information online and if you are the one giving it to them, you are automatically building a relationship. If you don’t have an online presence…(insert cricket chirping sound here). The other side of this equation is the peer to peer relationship for business owners to build with other owners. Social Media is incredibly powerful to build relationships and immediately spread your name and information.
How do you become engaged? I mentioned in the beginning of this article that LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are channels within social media. They are the big four on which to start (ideally after you have a website and a blog, but that’s another article). Your website provides basic information and your blog provides up to date and timely information and articles. Your social media channels help to distribute the real-time access channels to your blog. Tracking and controlling the social media channels is accomplished with additional tools such as Hootsuite, Ow.ly, TweetDeck and Bit.ly. These are some of the additional pieces of the recipe for successful social media engagement, but not something to worry about right now.
Social media, as with any program, is most effective when you enter into it with a plan, a definition of a success, and a tracking system to measure the success of the program. Except for your website, the wonderful part about the tools mentioned above is that they are FREE. To make your social media program successful, you must be committed to the program. You must be willing to commit your time and your effort to work the program. Your social media program is an investment. If you don’t invest, you get no return.
If you’re already engaged in social media, CONGRATULATIONS! If it is working for you and you are ready to take your entire organization to the next level, then there are Social Media Platforms available which allow you to create your organization’s own Social Media Network. SMC Business Councils, for example, has recently launched their members-only PA Business Social Media site. This autonomous community is a platform for members to share best practices and research, stay up to date on government advocacy efforts, take advantage of members-only benefits, find human resource, marketing, healthcare and legal expertise, share business successes and communicate information only to those within the walls of their membership community. (www.SMC.org)
Remember that feedback and tracking is essential to measuring the success of your social media program. The information and the industry is morphing daily, so please contact me to share your social media successes and challenges or if you have additional questions. If you are Social Networking neophyte, that’s OK. We’re here to help.
I’ve put together a two-part training session to show businesses how to use Social Media as a Marketing Tool.
- Social Media Marketing: The Pieces
- Social Media Marketing: How the Pieces Work Together
If your organization is interested in the training, email for more information.