By Mallory Maloney
I read a mind-boggling fact recently. If Facebook was a nation, it would be the third most populous nation in the world. Wow. With well over 1 billion users, Facebook has handed the world a platform on which communication is limitless. But Facebook is not alone. Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest. The list goes on and on. There are new types of social media created every year that a person uses to share his or her life. They also provide businesses, if used correctly, immense opportunity to grow. Marketing in social media is the key for spreading an industry’s reach in an ever-evolving world.
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines social media as “forms of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content.” Sixty-seven percent of all American internet users use at least one social networking site. Locally, 402,398 people (65% of population) in Pierce County have used Facebook in the last 30 days, and 119,858 (59% of population) in Thurston County.
Social networks such as Facebook originally began as a tool for young adults, and that age group still holds the majority of social media participation: 83% of internet users ages 18-29 are active in social networking.
It is crucial nowadays for businesses to be “connected,” because that is where the customers are along with the money. A simple blog is a fantastic means of gaining presence in the online world. According to visual.ly, “nearly 40% of US companies use blogs for marketing purposes…companies that blog have 55% more website visitors.” Blogging, along with photo and video sharing, have so many benefits. Here are a few:
- Share knowledge and expertise
- Customer engagement
- Increase traffic
- Show off products & services
- People love photos and share them easily with acquaintances
- A product video will attract an audience more than an article will
The tremendous spread of mobile use in the U.S. has people connected with their social media even more. People not only access websites through their desktop, but now can access them virtually anywhere with cell service. Over one-hundred million Americans own a smartphone, which makes up 57% of the mobile market penetration. Forty percent of these Americans access social media on their mobile devices. Since so many people use social networking, businesses are connecting with customers online.
Since marketing in social media has proven successful, almost all businesses have jumped on the bandwagon. Ninety-four percent of all businesses with a marketing department use social media. Out of these businesses with dedicated social media platforms, 58% of them have reported an increase in sales after three years. After being asked which social media area they plan to expand, 76% of businesses stated they plan on increasing efforts on YouTube. Facebook came in second place with 72% of businesses, and Twitter with 69%.
Many people and businesses have found success with social media. A good example is Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in the 2008 election. Obama used social networking to promote his campaign and connect with the younger generation of voters. Last fall, Southwest Airlines used Facebook to advertise their 50% off sale. They were able to reach people through shared Facebook posts and generated conversation amongst potential customers. Hertz’s Share It Up campaign on Facebook used social media to increase visibility. If friends shared the post with others, they gained more discounts. All these companies harnessed social media to their advantage.
The online social world is only escalating, and the creation of new technology will facilitate its growth. If businesses maintain an active presence and market wisely, they will thrive.