Waaaaah – social media is driving me crazy! I hear so many companies and individuals say just that. Who needs the hassle, the hours of time spent using it and to top it all, not being able to promote, promote, promote myself?
So, seriously, why are we using social media in business and what is the point? Well, there is no doubt that the way in which people communicate has changed. You’ve probably heard the quote ‘If Facebook were a country, it would have the third largest population, right behind China (1,347,350,000) and India (1,210,200,000), and ahead of the United States (314,500,000)’ See Facebook hits 1 billion users.
So what? I hear you say. Well, there are over 1 billion users on Facebook because they want to be, not because they have to be. All consumers, or business people needing products and services. So why would you not be where they are and poised ready to be found when they are looking for you? Direct marketing still works of course, but so much of the time I find I’m pushing my services to people who are quite literally trying to block me out. Being a polite sort of person, I feel much more comfortable with the concept of being found when someone needs what I have to offer – yay bring on social media!
Oh, but the effort and the time it eats up. Yes, there have been times in the last few years when I’m sure we have all just wished that social media would go away and stop filling up our heads with terms like ‘engagement’ – don’t I at least require a diamond studded ring for that? The fact is, the 1.06 billion people on Facebook, along with the hundreds of millions of others on social media sites are not going away. Did you know that 96% of all people born since the millennium have joined a social network of some description? In five years, those 12 year olds will be earning their own money to spend on products and services. In ten or fifteen years they’ll have their own homes and businesses. You see where this is going…social media is here to stay, it’s a big deal and as business owners we have to get on board or risk missing the boat. If we miss the boat, we just may not be able to catch up. So, it’s sink or swim time – this is increasingly where our potential customers are going to be – there is no getting away from that. Social media is probably the best way of future proofing our companies. Remember when websites were the new big thing? You wouldn’t be without one now would you, even if there is no guarantee you’ll get business from having one? The point is that you’re almost not a serious business without one.
So what am I saying? Well, social media is a huge drain on our resources – not necessarily financial resources, but human resources, or time – and many companies now choose to outsource their social media marketing to an agency, as some of my clients do to my company. Other companies employ a social media whizz, or use an existing member of staff. Still others use ‘bots’ (robots) to automatically broadcast content. Every company must choose the best strategy for them, but the important thing is that we do it, rather than ignore it and hope it will slope off back where it came from. Social media is here to stay for the foreseeable future and our return on investment is that we have a chance to still be found online in five years time, when that’s the only place anyone is looking. Of course, there is much more to sustainability than social media, but by the same token, we cannot risk ignoring something this huge. We have seen a few high street names go under, possibly because they didn’t move enough of their sales online. If we don’t get with it, our competitors, the ones who are using social media, will have the competitive advantage in the very near future.
It takes a couple of years to build up a presence and trust on social media. This is a decision you need to make now. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Get with the beat! And if you don’t want to do it yourself, contact me.