Dos & Don’ts Of Social Media Marketing

I’m amazed that people are still questioning whether social media is a fad or not. Social networks and online interactions have exploded over the past few years and are continuing to grow, without any hint of a plateau. Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics, says it best in that “we don’t have a choice on whether we do social media; the question is how well we do it.” I found his video really interesting to show just how much social media is taking off.

The video shows stats from Qualman’s book and I’ve listed out just a few of the jaw-dropping numbers below:

  • 80% of companies use social media for recruitment – of those, 95% are using LinkedIn
  • 50% of mobile internet traffic in the UK is for Facebook
  • 25% of search results for the world’s top 20 largest brads are links to user-generated content
  • 34% of bloggers post opinions about products and brands
  • 96% of millennials (generation Y) have joined a social network
  • 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations, but only 14% trust advertisements
  • Only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate positive ROI as 90% of people skip ads via TiVo or DVR
  • 24 or the 25 largest newspapers are experiencing record declines in circulation

The video notes an important shift in the wake of social media – we no longer search for news, news comes to us. This is something I’ve noted before, but still marvel at the implications and challenges, especially the challenge of reaching new audiences. How do you reach a new group of people who only have select news topics delivered to them? This dilemma presents opportunities for creative campaigns, which are sure to be centered around social media.

As word of mouth and peer recommendations are such high influencers now, it’s important that you are being talked about. If you, your company, or your clients are being left out of conversations in your field or industry, you will likely be forgotten.  Qualman notes that the real ROI of social media is that your business will still exist in 5 years… yikes!

So with the explosion of social media, I was surprised by a recent survey released by Citibank that found 81% of small businesses (of the 552 surveyed) are not using social media. The survey, asking if small business owners use the Internet for business growth, also found that 37% are not even using their website to expand their business. It seems like these companies are really missing an opportunity.

Almost two years ago, Cone released results of a research study that found that 93% of social media users think companies should have a social media presence and 85% believe companies should also interact with its community via social media. These statistics can only have increased since social media has continued to grow exponentially with more and more users joining social sites like Twitter and Facebook every day.

So why wouldn’t companies take advantage of social media?  How are you, your clients, or company making social media work for you?


This post was originally published by Meredith L. Eaton on March Communications’ blog, PR Nonsense, and may be viewed here.