Everyone is buzzing about social networking for business marketing. In 2010, it was recognized as the leading emerging channel for lead generation. In 2011, nearly 64 percent of U.S. Internet users use a social network regularly, according to Emarketer. And it’s not just the kids. The numbers are growing among every age group. In fact, women over the age of 50 represent the fastest growing segment of social networkers.
And why is it so popular? We are still human, and we want human interaction, even if it’s done via technology. The ability to easily stay in contact with people from your past, people who are far away, and even those who are in your inner sphere is far too tempting to ignore.
With everyone connecting on social networks, it makes sense for businesses to find their consumers there as well. This vast community is a powerful resource for lead generation if you can harness its power. Conversations regularly recommend products or services, promote events and offers, and share links to business websites, blogs, and Facebook pages. This method of inbound marketing demands that businesses take a different approach to their marketing.
In December 2010, the McKinsey Global Institute reported that 63 percent of companies surveyed indicated that social media increased the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. Half of these companies said social media increased customer satisfaction. And the other benefits recognized by social media marketing included reduction in marketing costs, decrease in support costs, greater speed to market for products and services, and an increase in revenue. Another statistic shows that 61 percent of marketers say that social networks increased their lead generation. Those are all plusses for marketers!
And it’s not just the corporate giants who are reaping the social networking rewards. A study of SMBs by Ad-ology Research last year showed that 57 percent of them believed social media was beneficial to their businesses.
Social media marketing is key to the future of marketing. As the social networks continue to evolve, marketing strategy will have to adapt as well. But the effectiveness in terms of ROI is staggering!
How have you adapted your past marketing strategy to incorporate social networking? Please share your experiences, challenges, and successes here.