As I sit in the afterglow of another Super Bowl Sunday, I can’t help but reflect on the vast number of business owners and corporate executives who still do not recognize the power of social media marketing.
By all accounts, Sunday night’s game was the biggest social TV event ever recorded. For example, according to The New York Times, approximately 15 million tweets were posted during the game. By comparison, only 3 million tweets were logged on Super Bowl Sunday in 2011.
If after reading this statistic you still see Facebook and Twitter merely as places for kids to waste time socializing, I implore you to read on.
WHAT'S YOUR REACH?
Social media marketing gives companies exponential reach, empowering brands to leverage their content and messaging more efficiently than other marketing channels.
In a recent post, Hubspot’s Pamela Vaughan provided a perfect explanation of social media reach. Let's say your company posts a piece of content such as your blog onto Twitter. Every one of your followers has his/her own followers, be it 5, 500, or 5,000. Let's say a follower of yours who has 5,000 Twitter followers shares one of your blog posts. Presto. Now that content is getting exposed to 5,000 additional people who weren't directly following you. Any one of these people may in turn share your blog with their followers, and so on.
Unlike many forms of traditional marketing, whose reach tends to be linear, social media's reach is exponential.
Companies are using social media to engage with consumers on a number of levels. Consumers want more from the brands they are following on social media, including better experiences, rewards for engagement and deeper engagement. Given all of this, only about one-third of brands feel they have the resources or time to fully invest in social media strategies.
The gap between what consumers want and what they’re getting from companies' social media channels represents a huge problem or a great opportunity, depending upon how you look at it.¹
DOING IT RIGHT
Even companies that recognize the importance of social media and consumer engagement are having trouble understanding how to effectively manage their social media channels. Many businesses are still using traditional "push" marketing techniques, with 65% of companies with a Facebook page using it for one way communications and 96% of blogs simply broadcasting article and news content without inviting responses.²
Even technology companies that understand social networking are having trouble implementing proper social media management practices. In fact, only 31% of brands with a Facebook account use it to engage with users and, of those that used Twitter, only 14% of tweets were replies and re-tweets.²
Debby Penton, Director at the PR agency EML Wildfire noted, “The vast majority of businesses we speak to now accept that social media is something they should be doing. But we are still seeing confusion about how to approach these new channels and get the best out of them."²
As my father used to say, ignorance is not an excuse. Companies unsure of social media best practices should consider outsourcing their social media management. Whether insourced or outsourced, it is critical that your brand implement an effective social media marketing plan.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Given its reach, as well as the profound impact of social media on consumer engagement, business traffic, leads, and inevitably sales, companies need to incorporate social media channels into their marketing mix as soon as practicable.
After all, if Madonna's halftime show alone was able to generate nearly 1 million comments on social media, imagine the effect a well-managed social media strategy could have on your business.
How does your company use social media to improve its reach and engage with consumers?
Sources, Unless Cited:
¹ CMO Council Report, “Variance in the Social Brand Experience.”
² Useful Social Media article, “Tech Companies Need to be More Sociable.”
Info Graphic courtesy of the CMO Council Report, “Variance in the Social Brand Experience.”