People have said it before and they’ll say it once again – internet marketers should invest their time into social media if they want to maximize their online marketing potential. During a recent survey of men in the key age group 18 to 34, 75% said they spend most of their time online versus less than 20% watching TV, according to lifestyle experts askmen.com. Organizations who are sticking to the traditional media giants risk missing the boat completely. It is no longer good enough to stand by and watch for new marketing cycles to emerge before jumping on board. Now, the laid-back marketer risks being left behind completely unless engagement is prompt.
The noted Forrester Research estimates that fully 95% of business decision-makers worldwide have noticed and are interacting with social media to one extent or another. While this is a very impressive finding, it is interesting to refer to Emarketer, whose own research suggests that resistance to social media as a form of marketing comes more from the confusion surrounding its methodology and the difficulties encountered when actually tracking and testing its effectiveness.
Social media seems certain to make a fundamental change in the very way that we go about our daily lives. As mass consumers we will have a much more interactive say in our products and services and will be able to interact with producers and suppliers on a much more constructive basis. We can easily reference the Twitter pages of organizations like JetBlue and Comcast, both of which have developed highly interactive, two-way systems for communication between clients and their companies. Some people are amazed to see how these companies are effectively “washing their dirty laundry” in public, by engaging in this form of communication with sometimes irate customers. However, advocates suggest that this will ultimately improve the breed and that client to client interaction can help to enhance the reach of the product or service and create a kind of “social buzz.”
Will we reach a point of saturation, shortly? The meteoric growth of Facebook and Twitter appears to know no bounds, but this entire industry is so volatile that we are yet to be able to see the overall size of the playing field. Facebook usage was up 700% year-on-year during April, according to Nielsen Netview.
Of great interest is the fact that many forward thinking corporate giants are now appointing social media directors and vice presidents to help steer them. Notably, Ford Motor Company chose to center their initial marketing run-out for the new Fiesta model around a social media platform, linking hand picked bloggers with Facebook and Twitter.
Social media allows companies to build prospects and clients rather quickly, capitalize on positive word-of-mouth marketing, move their customer service to a new level and micromanage their customers. Social media seems set to completely rewrite the corporate customer service manual and there are sure to be road bumps ahead as the potential legal implications of this form of “now” communication come up against established, considered channels.
Adam Toren, Co-Founder of Young Entrepreneur, specializes in improving the profitability of under-performing businesses with a unique and ‘bottom line’ program. Adam, along with his brother, have started, bought and sold several companies over the past years. They currently own and operate a successful publishing company and several online companies.
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