How Important is Social Media to the Success of a Business?
As social media has evolved it has become more and more a part of any web marketer’s strategy; ensuring that any business is making the most of all social media channels is an absolute must for them to survive in the online world.
Using social media opens up a huge number of opportunities to build brand recognition, attract traffic and most importantly to interact with existing and potential customers.
With social media it is all about exposure, therefore the more users a social media site has, the more exposure you will get. Of course everyone knows which are the most popular sites, but just how many users do these sites have? And how can each one be used to a business’ advantage?
Facebook is the biggest of the social media sites with approximately 1.11 billion registered users and over 700 million active users. Since the site first became popular it has continued to gain more and more users from all over the world, from a variety of backgrounds and of all ages. This diversity is what makes Facebook the perfect marketing tool.
A Facebook page will contain the necessary information about a business and a link to its website, but the aim isn’t to use it like a second website, the aim is to create a buzz around your page and therefore a buzz around your business. By creating a Facebook page for a business you are putting the name out there in a place where people will come across it without having to go searching for it. Any information that you share, any photos that you post and any comments that you make have the possibility of reaching millions of people. The more interesting, fun and useful the stuff you share the better, as this can lead to other Facebook users enjoying what they see and sharing it with their network of friends and so on.
Twitter has a huge online following with around 550 million registered users and approximately 280 million active tweeters. Just like Facebook, Twitter attracts an extremely diverse group of people so is an ideal place in which to create an online presence.
A twitter page will contain a brief description of a business and a link to its site; it also shows who the business follows on Twitter and who follows the business. Similarly to Facebook, anything that you tweet has the potential of reaching many people, so it is vital to make sure that everything that you tweet is interesting and/or helpful in order to encourage followers to interact with you. An important thing to remember when it comes to Twitter is that the majority of tweets are ignored, so without frequently tweeting quality tweets you will get nowhere!
Now is the time to get on board with Google+ if you haven’t already. With 500 million users and around 350 million active users it is quickly over taking Twitter when it comes to the figures, however currently these active users are nowhere near as ‘active’ as Twitter’s active users. But as with most social media sites this is bound to change in time as more and more people join Google+ and get used to the idea of it.
An added bonus of Google+ which makes it different from Twitter and Facebook is that when users are signed in and using Google’s search engine or Google places, their results can be tailored to them, meaning that the results that are produced have been ’trusted’ by the people they engage with on Google+; hopefully resulting in a better search experience.
This social media channel is used in the same way as Twitter and Facebook, the idea being to interact with potential and existing customers in the hope that this will increase your popularity, thus gaining you more visitors to your site and hopefully more business.
YouTube is a strange one, it’s nothing like the three previously mentioned sites because as I’m sure you are aware it is a video sharing site and you do not have to sign up in order to view the material. As it is not compulsory to sign up, many users do not which means that gaining followers is much harder than on other social media channels. However it is still a great way of increasing brand awareness thanks to the fact that around 6 billion hours of videos are watched on YouTube every month.
Creating something that viewers will enjoy or that viewers need is the only effective way to utilise YouTube, for example informative videos such as walkthroughs, tips and how to guides. Of course this entirely depends on the business, but thinking creatively is the key to getting the most out of YouTube!
Instagram is a relatively new photo and video sharing network that has over 100million users. The fact that this service was launched towards the end of 2010 and already has this many followers shows its incredible popularity. The great thing about Instagram is that it can be linked to other social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, so when you share a photo with your followers on Instagram you can also share it with your Facebook friends (or those who like your page) and Twitter followers.
Depending on the business, this can be a slightly trickier form of interacting with a target audience, but similarly to YouTube a little creativity will do; after all, people can’t resist taking a look at what others are getting up to and photos can be much more interesting that a piece of text!
Of all the social media channels mentioned in this post Pinterest is the least popular with 70 million users. It is a photo sharing site where users create collections of images on a pin board based on different themes and interests, users are able to follow other users, like other user’s pins and even repin another pin. It has been noted that the majority of Pinterest users are women and that the majority of pins are in fact repins, this suggests that Pinterest may not be ideal for all types of businesses; however for some it could be perfect! Take for example a clothing shop, they can pin images of their different clothing items which will hopefully get spread through people liking and repinning them; the more widespread these pins are, the more people that are likely to visit Pinterest page from which the pin originated where they can then follow the link to the shop’s actual website.
The great thing about Pinterest is its addictiveness, once users log on they often get carried away and spend a long time on there, this increases a business’ chances of being seen. This makes Pinterest an ideal place for a business to get itself known, just make sure that all pins look good and will appeal to users or else it is likely a waste of time.
Social Media is Critical!
Social media is clearly a critical aspect of any online marketing strategy, with billions of people using these sites it would be incredibly foolish not to make the most of these opportunities. Personally I believe that a successful business isn’t just about profit (although this is obviously very important!), in order for a business to really be successful it should be a business that has a good relationship with its customers and a business that people trust. Social media is the best way to instigate and build these good relationships, as well as being a key way of increasing traffic to a site, so it is crucial that you make use of as many of these social media channels as possible!