According to some of the statistics compiled by econsultancy writer Jake Hird in August 2009
- Around 64% of marketers are using social media for 5 hours or more each week.
- Social networks and blogs are the 4th most popular online activities online, including beating personal email. 67% of global users visit member communities and 10% of all time spent on the internet is on social media sites.
It has become imperative for companies, big or small, to have social media campaigns. It is predicted that the social media spending by companies will increase dramatically in the coming year. The statistics look impressive, the social networks are growing at a geometric rate, and marketers have taken notice and are incorporating social media as an integral part of any online marketing initiative.
It’s all sunshine, but the most important element that online marketers forget is that social media marketing is all about conversations. It’s a two way communication channel, not the traditional online marketing channel. While creating groups, pages, accounts and forums, marketers forget that they need to connect with the people online. They create groups and just inundate users with the offers and deals. They do not listen or engage the users. Social media is all about connecting and collaborating. Not many people appreciate being flooded with a whole bunch of offers and being assailed with marketers online. This is not only invasion of privacy but it is also detrimental to the firm.
Listening and Engaging are the two most basic rules of social media marketing. People are on social media to connect, collaborate and gather information which might not be easily available otherwise. Listening to the users talk about what they want in a product, engaging them in conversations and understanding their requirements increases the brand influence and brings in traffic to the website which can be converted into sales.
Not only will this increase brand loyalty, but a company might get some great ideas and can innovate better. When a company develops a service or a product keeping the customers requirement in mind, it can seldom go wrong. Positive word of mouth marketing is the best kind of marketing a company can ever get.
Online marketers should understand the social media demographics and ‘socialnomics’ before starting a social media campaign. Social media marketing should be used cleverly and skillfully to achieve the best results online.
Contributed by Maanasi R K