According to a recent comScore report, 1.2 billion users worldwide have a social media account.
To put that in context and plain numbers what that means is roughly 82% of all internet users are active on social media. It shouldn’t really come as too much of a surprise as we’ve seen the evidence all around us for the last couple of years. It seems virtually everyman and his dog has either a Facebook or Twitter account these days.
LinkedIn is catching up fast too.
There was a time when the professional network was the sole preserve of the seasoned business man, but not any more.
The first action of many of the youngsters who took part in this year’s Young Apprentice wasn’t to go out for a session after the programme finished, but to sign up to LinkedIn and spread the word. If you don’t believe that check LinkedIn yourself and look for the likes of Harry Maxwell and James McCullagh.
With such overwhelming evidence you’d think that all businesses would buy into the notion that social media marketing is good for business wouldn’t you? Well, yes you would, but evidence seems to indicate that there are still quite a number of companies who fail to agree: some of them admittedly are probably slow starters, but the majority are positively opposed to this new-fangled social ingénue. It appears from the research of some of the nation’s leading marketing agencies, that B2Bs are some of the worst offenders. So, can we ever convince these businesses of the benefits of the social media, or will they remain dinosaurs who live firmly in the past?
Why do some businesses fail to engage with social media?
That’s actually quite a difficult question to answer as there’s no clear reason. Anecdotal evidence suggests they don’t see the point of it, or fail to see its benefits as a valid marketing tactic, yet there’s no hard evidence or research to back it up. The best we can hope to do is guess what the causes might be. Armed with that, it might then be easier to address the problem and point out why they’re wrong. The objection, as far as we can tell, is that they prefer to rely on old trusted marketing methods like telemarketing and leafleting and flyers. Nothing wrong with that you might say, and fair enough we wouldn’t disagree. It has certainly worked for business before and has a fine pedigree.
Some businesses have sort of embraced the internet and at least started to make use of email marketing, but that’s about as far as they’ll go. Let’s face it, if these businesses are in a comfortable position and satisfied with their lot, then why should they modernise and strive for more? We’d guess that the answer to that is that the world moves on, and though you might be satisfied now, that won’t necessarily remain the case. Business is unpredictable at the best of times, let alone during a recession.
Good reasons why businesses should seize the day and embrace social media.
The general consensus today seems to be that the principle driving force in business is customer engagement. To thrive, a business must know what its customers want, and then deliver that. If the customer is still king, then is there a better way to get to know what people want than by interacting with the people you sell your products and services to? A business that engages with its customers not only has an understanding of how well they’re performing, but will also have some idea about where they can make improvements. Customers will tell a business what it’s doing well and where it’s going wrong. The business will then engage with the conversation and correct any errors or flaws in its practices. If any business really wants to engage with customers then social media channels are the way to go.
The benefits of social media don’t end there though. Social media channels allow businesses to influence opinions, inform and advise, generate leads, provide instruction and training on the use of products, encourage positive word of mouth recommendations and trial new products and services. They even give you the opportunity to develop new and exiting products in conjunction with your customers. Yet perhaps the greatest benefit of all is that the social media lets businesses demonstrate to existing and potential customers who they are and why they are better than the competition.
What’s not to like about that?