How Important is Social Media to a Business?

Dear M & M:

Just how important is social media to my business and how much time should I spend on this?

– Sally

Dear Sally:

The Social Media Examiner just released their 2015 industry report. Over 3,700 people who market using social media platforms responded. Here are some highlights of the report. Sixty-six percent of the people that responded planned to increase their use of social media. The number one use of social media was to engage clients. Given the constant change taking place across several networks, connecting with people, social media still seems to be the best way.

Ninety-two percent of the people that responded agreed that social media was important to their businesses. Interestingly, eighty-four percent of the people that responded have integrated social media into traditional marketing activities. Nineteen percent of the marketers that responded to the survey spend twenty hours each week on social media. Sixty-four percent are using social media six hours or more.

Most marketers use social media to gain marketplace intelligence and developing loyal fan bases. Ninety percent indicated that from using social media they have generated more exposure for their business. Seventy-seven percent stated that they have increased traffic. With as little as six hours per week increased exposure, lead generation, business partnerships increased significantly.

In addition, more than half of the people that spent at least six hours per week using social media reported overall marketing expenses decreased. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram were the top seven platforms being used. Facebook lead the pack with fifty-two percent of the people that responded reporting Facebook as the most important platform followed by LinkedIn at twenty-one percent and twitter at twelve percent.

Interestingly, twenty-four percent plan to spend more time on social review sites like Yelp or Trip Advisor. When asked, seventy-three percent planned to increase the use of visuals as a key part of their marketing planning going forward. The number one area marketers that were surveyed stated they wanted to learn more about was the use of video. Over sixty per cent of the people that responded to the survey were small businesses with less than 10 employees.

Social media isn’t free. Time spent is probably your greatest cost other than some minor subscriptions or allocated expenditure to advertising campaigns like Facebook. Here are some of the benefits; ability to respond to problems immediately, engage with consumers up-close and personal, you will find customers you didn’t know existed, increased brand awareness and recognition.

Keep these numbers in mind when you ask how important social media is to my business. According to a global web index study, there are 126 million daily active Facebook users in the US, YouTube reaches more people than any cable network, and there are 101 million people in the US actively engaging in social media on their phone right now. Integrating email, print media, radio, TV, direct mail campaigns and your social media platforms seems to be the smart choice.



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