by Rachel Parker
As a mega-savvy businessperson, you’ve got this marketing thing down, right?
Print ads, check.
Website (search-engine-optimized, thank you), check.
Pay-per-click and banner ads, check.
And it’s all working quite well for you. So why on earth would you want to take time out of your already-packed schedule to get involved in the populist free-for-all that we call social media?
Because it’s where your customers are. And if you do it right, it works. Really, really, really well.
Let’s look at it this way. If you knew there was a place your customers visited at least once a day, where they devoted their undivided attention for an average of 5 hours and 46 minutes every month, and where their experience influenced up to 28% of their buying decisions, you’d be crazy not to establish a presence there, right?
Well, the place I just described is called Facebook. And it’s just one of the social venues that could be working for your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including weekends and holidays.
Once derided as a tweenerfest that catered to the Justin Bieber crowd, social media has rapidly evolved into an essential part of the marketing mix for businesses ranging from mom-and-pop cafes to these guys. In the marketing environment of 2011, having a presence in social media is no more “optional” than is having a website.
And the best part is, all you need to start reaping the benefits is an Internet connection.
But don’t just take my word for it; let the numbers speak for themselves:
- In 2009, Dell racked up $9 million in sales from Facebook and Twitter alone.
- In July 2010, Old Spice launched an ambitious YouTube campaign in which the “Old Spice Guy” answered questions from Twitter followers. In the month that followed, sales increased 107%.
- Also in the summer of 2010, Ford launched a campaign exclusively on social media channels for the new Explorer, which goes on sale in early 2011. By December 2010, the company racked up 15,000 pre-orders—more than double its forecast.
Sure, these are all major corporations, but the means they used are the same Twitter, the same Facebook, the same YouTube that’s available to you, to me, and to anyone with a Web connection and a vision.
The social media universe is unlike any promotional venue we’ve ever seen, because it’s an environment where anybody can be a big deal. So why not you?