With billions of people worldwide engaging online each day, social media has become more than just a trend—it is truly the future of business communications and networking. Still, many businesses remain mystified by the social media landscape, leading executives to question: Why Social Media?
First, note some impressive social media usage statistics from 2013:
- Facebook user total reached 1.11 billion
- Twitter had 500 million registered users, with more than 200 million being active
- LinkedIn had 225 million users
- Pinterest user total reached 48.7 million
- Google Plus grew to 343 million users
Users are consuming an increasing amount of information over the Internet and across social networks. With large user bases and real-time engagement, these networks provide businesses with a platform to spread word-of-mouth efficiently and effectively to targeted audiences.
By utilizing a multi-channel approach, businesses are able to break through the online clutter to reach those most interested in its products/services and drive them toward actions (e.g., downloading a whitepaper, filling out a form/survey, or making a purchase) that support business objectives and goals.
Social media platforms allow companies to speak directly to their present and potential customers/clients—engaging them in a two-way conversation, sharing timely and relevant news, and carrying peer recommendations and word-of-mouth marketing in a magnified fashion never before seen. Thus, social media is providing both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) companies with several benefits:
- Increasing search engine optimization and driving traffic to corporate websites
- Enabling businesses to obtain valuable customer feedback and market insight
- Helping generate and drive more qualified leads to improve sales over time
- Reducing overall advertising and marketing costs
Below are some noteworthy statistics to support these facts:
- Gain Visibility in Search. Facebook handles close to 1 billion search queries per day already. The potential exists for inquiries related to decision-making or reviews.
- Increase Company Sales. Findings show there was an 8% sales lift among users who saw a brand’s organic (i.e., unpaid) tweet versus those who didn’t, and the lift was three times greater if they saw five or more organic tweets. A Deloitte study found 30% uplift in positive tweets caused a 6.1% increase in sales, whereas a rise of 30% in traditional advertising was responsible for increasing sales by only 1.6%.
- Find New Targets. A Zocalo Group report shows 46% of respondents were influenced by their Facebook friends liking pages – tied with positive brand reviews. On average, 53% of changes in online and offline sales can be attributed the number of people advocating for the brand online.
Results show social media is shaping what is being said about companies in the blogosphere, and enabling businesses to deliver brand messaging to new audiences so long-term brand loyalty can be developed. Ongoing social media efforts have become fundamental to the surviving and thriving of today’s biggest brand names by providing an unprecedented value proposition for enhancing brand recognition and generating consumer interest.
At Beyond Fifteen, we view social media as a critical business strategy, not just a shiny new set of communications tools. Social media is a conversation; it’s a revolution; and it’s a fundamental shift in the way brands and consumers communicate.