Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest – the world of social media is exploding in popularity, and those that understand its mechanics are on their way to the top. Since the social media marketing boom, countless businesses have been hopping on the bandwagon. Over 900 million people have Facebook accounts, 140 million use Twitter, and 11.3 million use Pinterest – what unbelievable marketing resources, right?
Well, not necessarily. Social media sites may not be the miraculous fix-all that they seem to be. Using social media effectively requires that you know how your customers use it. Many companies spend thousands hiring consultants that can attract more Followers, Likes, and Pins, only to find that they don’t equate to revenue.
I’m not saying social media is useless. Having an online presence is crucial – people will see your business’ name more often, and associate a personality with it. This will help build your brand in the long-term. Also, customers love interacting with companies, and social media is a great platform for that. Lastly, having a large social media following comes with SEO benefits (Michael Gray wrote a fascinating blog post on this topic). Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages with regular activity can attract sales, signups, and views, just like any other medium. Social media sites are simply part of your marketing mix – they are not game-changers.
So how do you make the most of your social media? Personalize your marketing so it appears where your target market is looking. Where do they spend their time? Maybe they aren’t avid Facebook users – Twitter is more their domain. Twitter is a much better place for business-oriented social media. YouTube shouldn’t be forgotten either – it gets the second most searches of any site, after Google. But don’t limit yourself to the obvious – there are millions of blogs that draw in every imaginable niche market.
If there’s one thing to remember, it’s this: there are no “overnight successes.” iPod sales didn’t start taking off for three years. Amazon was created in 1994, but didn’t make a profit until 2001. Angry Birds was very successful, but Rovio made more than 30 games before it. The Beatles started playing in 1957, but didn’t top any charts until 1964. Your business will take time to build, and social media is simply there to support that process.
Do you agree? Or disagree? Feel free to share your thoughts and personal social media stories in the comments below.