Social media is now so deeply entrenched within our lifestyles that it has almost become difficult to imagine what life would be like without it. It is now easier than ever to stay connected with family and friends, catch up with the latest gossip or follow your favourite celebrity.
Over the course of the last decade or so, we have seen the introduction of so many social media platforms. If you’re in my generation, then you’ll remember when MySpace hit the scene in 2003 and forever changed the game. Then Facebook came along and consumed the internet and everyone using it. Twitter allowed celebrities to “break the internet” as often as they wanted and Instagram gave us a peek at how exactly they did it.
When these platforms were first introduced to us, we were encouraged to share our lives, our pictures, our interests and opinions. But somewhere along the line, clever marketers realised that without even asking for it, they had been given the golden goose or the gift that keeps on giving. They saw that a virtual marketplace had been created for them and all they had to do was set up shop and open for business. Companies started to realise that they had been given direct access to their key demographics, potential customers and even their competitors. Fast forward a few years and we now have companies using these platforms to tell us what’s happening, what they’re selling, where and when.
So the question now becomes; would you want your business survive without social media? Before we come to a conclusion, let’s look at some of the benefits of social media and social media marketing.
A recent study conducted by the Social Media Examiner compiled a list of the top 10 benefits of using social media. I’ve picked out a few of those benefits, however, if you’re curious to see what the full list looks like, a copy of the report can be found here.
The study found that with as little as 6 hours per week, the vast majority of marketers (91%+) indicated their social media efforts increased exposure for their businesses. Nearly all marketers (91%+) who've been employing social media marketing for one year or longer reported that it generates exposure for their businesses.
Coming in second, 77% of marketers surveyed said that through the use of social media, website traffic had increased. A staggering 81%+ of participants found that increased traffic occurred with only 6 hours per week invested in social media marketing. And those who've used social media for 1 year or more reported substantially better results (75%+ reported benefits), compared with those with less experience.
Developed loyal fans
69% of marketers surveyed said they were using social media to develop a loyal fan base. Of those who have been using social media for at least 1 year, 64% found it useful for building a loyal fan base. Again, time invested contributes to the outcome; of those spending at least 6 hours a week, 72% found benefit, compared to 57% of those spending 5 hours or fewer per week.
51% of marketers who have been using social media for the last 2 years noted an increase in sales. The study found that more than half who spend 6 or more hours per week find the same results and 73% of those who spend 40+ hours per week earn new business through their efforts.
Reduced Marketing Expenses
For many start-ups who do not have a big marketing budget, social media marketing has been proven to be a budget friendly and highly effective marketing tool. The study found that more than half of those who spend at least 6 hours per week on social media efforts saw a benefit of reduced marketing expenses. At least 52% of businesses with 10 or fewer employees agreed social media reduced marketing expenses.
The study also highlighted a number of other benefits such improved search engine rankings, improved marketplace insight and improved lead generation. All benefits which ultimately contribute to the growth, development and expansion of any business.
Social media has forever changed the way we share and consume information. It now shapes our awareness of brands and ultimately helps us to decide where and how we spend our money. At this point, my question almost doesn’t need an answer, so I’ll say this; why survive when you can thrive?