There’s no doubt about it, social media is no passing fad. And it’s not just social either – today around 93% of businesses now incorporate social media in their marketing strategy.
Even so, many businesses are overlooking some basic social media fundamentals, missing opportunities and failing to make the most of social because of wrong assumptions.
Assumption #1: Social media is the best way to reach Gen Y and Gen Z
Typically when we think of social media, we make the assumption it is most suited to younger audiences. While young audiences initially took to social media like ducks to water, the fastest growing demographic to get social is the 45+ age group.
If your market is 45+, there’s a good chance they’re increasingly social.
45-54 is the fastest growing group on Facebook and Google+ (up 46% and 56% respectively) and the 55-64 age group is the fastest growing on Twitter.
Assumption #2: Most people use their PC to visit social sites
This is becoming more and more incorrect almost every day as people use mobile devices more and more for accessing social accounts.
A whopping 4.2 billion people use their mobile device to access social media sites.
- 751 million users access Facebook on mobile devices (189 million people only use Facebook for mobile);
- Instagram is purpose built for mobile;
- 60% of Twitter users access it from mobile;
- 27% of LinkedIn users access it through mobile.
The biggest implication of this is making sure your content will be displaying just as well on any kind of device. If you have a non-responsive website it really is likely to start hampering your effectiveness in social media, email marketing and e-commerce as more and more people expect to be able to surf, shop and socialise on the go with ease.
Assumption #3: Social can’t complete with mass media
That may have been true just a couple of years ago, but not any more. If you’re after the reach of mass media, YouTube could actually get you better exposure than TV in the 18-34 demographic.
Every month, there are 1 billion+ unique visitors to YouTube, and unlike television, it’s purpose built for sharing and spreading the word.
Unilever understands how to produce viral content, taking out the AdAge Viral Campaign of the Year for 2013 with their ‘Dove Real Beauty’ sketches, a 3 minute video seen by 134,899,405 views.
One of the most shared and commented articles on Facebook in 2012 was the Huffington Post’s ’23 Signs You’re Secretly an Introvert’ which has over 1.1 million likes, 183,232 shares and 2,642 comments.
So, if you can develop content that is eminently ‘shareable’, social media can well and truly provide you with a big audience:
- 1.15 billion+ Facebook users
- 500 million+ Twitter users
- 500 million+ Google+ users
- 130 million+ Instagram users
- 70 million+ Pinterest users
- 238 million+ LinkedIn users
Assumption #4: social media is only good for conversations
Social media is about conversation but that’s only a part of the power of engagement that social gives you.
Your business, your content and your marketplace can help to determine which social channels might work best for you and why.
If you want to get users engaged in conversations, competitions and polls, turn to Facebook, Pinterest, Google + and Twitter. To build authority and credibility, take your information-based content to LinkedIn and also consider creating a group there.
LinkedIn users are typically less active bit since 2 new users sign up every second, there’s a lot of room for helping out newbies and providing quality information that will get you noticed.
Assumption #5: Social media is not as important for B2B’s
You did read that point above correctly; two new members join LinkedIn every second. LinkedIn melds networking, recruiting, training and learning with social media and is a very rich source of valuable content.
Ideally suited to professionals and B2B service providers, a LinkedIn business account is a social must-have for all businesses. Whether or not you should augment that with a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube account will depend on your business and your clients. Most of the time one or more of the other social channels are also extremely useful for B2Bers.
Assumption #6: Social media is only something people do in their spare time
It’s official, the number one activity people do online is social networking. Email is the second most popular online activity. On average people are spending 37 minutes a day checking on their social networks and around 33 minutes per day on email.
People are finding time throughout the day to stay connected socially and for businesses, that’s important as social media can provide excellent opportunities to reach people when they’re open to receiving your message.
Assumption #7: Business presence in social is great but not essential
Most businesses understand the value that social media can provide them in terms of customer relations, service, credibility, new leads and SEO however 7% of businesses still have no social media presence.
A few years ago, we knew less about how to make social media work for business. As a result, it was difficult to measure its effectiveness and understand how to generate ROI. Today, however, there are loads of statistics on the measurable impact social media can have for businesses of all kinds.
According to recent data published by Digital Insights, social media generates almost twice as many leads as trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail or PPC.
Assumption #8: Businesses have social media marketing down pat
The mobile age is making sure there’s never any status quo when it comes to digital marketing, web development, email marketing and social media marketing. With a swathe of users accessing social accounts on mobile at any time of the day, marketers are scrambling to develop innovate new ways to interrupt them and take advantage of their mobile-ness.
For many businesses there are enormous opportunities in this area, yet real-time, mobile marketing in general is still in its infancy.
Other trends expected in social media in 2014 are micro videos, the continued rise of visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest and newer platforms that will attract the younger, early adopters. And with innovation set to continue, we can only expect the social media landscape to continue to evolve for many years to come.
Assumption #8: Social media is just an adjunct to the main marketing
It’s true, social media is an excellent way to increase the distribution or reach of material you are already producing, but that’s not all it’s good for.
Social media is all about engagement and the different platforms each have their own uniqueness which makes them great for sharing all kinds of content.
Rather than simply share your blog articles through the main channels, try developing related content in different formats. Not only will reach different audiences with your message but you’ll be building plenty of favour with the search engines and often times, images, quotes and video are actually more shareable than articles.
The key is to produce a variety of content in different formats for different purposes to make the most of the various social channels.
Assumption #9: Everything you post socially is seen by all of your followers
Most businesses have a Facebook account and naturally assume that people who have liked their page will see what they post. Wrong. According to Facebook itself, ‘Pages organically reach only about 16% of fans on average’, and that was before December 2013 when their newsfeed algorithm began treating brand pages differently.
Now, some social media specialists suggest organic reach may have declined by around 40% on average, making it increasingly difficult for businesses to get traction socially without sponsoring posts.
The Facebook newsfeed algorithm treats various kinds of posts differently and now it’s critical to be aware of the different kinds of content that tend to be prioritised more.
Assumption #10: All you need is a bubbly person to manage your social media
Now that social media has moved from the sandbox and into the big kids’ playground, an ad hoc, casual approach to managing it won’t work any more. Where once many companies left their social media in the hands of a chirpy marketing assistant, now they’re seeking professional, strategic social media management.
This may be a natural shift occurring as we see more and more tangible evidence of the ROI social media can generate.
An effective social media strategy is inseparable from a larger marketing strategy where each is developed with the other in mind; all digital content is Social Media Optimised (SMO) and social media content strategy is developed to support digital content.
iFactory is a full service digital agency, providing inspired, strategic digital marketing, responsive website design and social media management to enable businesses to fully integrate social media into their wider marketing. Drop us a note or call us on 07 3844 0577 to talk more about making social media work for your business. Oh, and be sure to connect with us on Facebook for more marketing tips and tactics.