Social media is changing the way we communicate, collaborate, consume and create, and nowadays, it’s the heart of global communications, both social and commercial. It has opened the doors to a whole different world of commercial possibilities as well as challenges for all aspects of business, from marketing and operations to finance and HR. Social Media has transformed the way we communicate with current and potential customers, it has also advanced the way businesses predict demand, interfere customer preferences and spot loyalty. But the power of social media for businesses goes even further by helping businesses internally, allowing them to build relationships with new talent, crowdsourcing ideas and engaging with potential partners. And even though social media has become a liability for many industries (e.g. news), it has become the biggest asset for many others (e.g. marketing, retail). It’s a tool that accelerates innovation and development, brings technological advances and embraces creativity. As a marketing agency, social media is at the heart of everything we do as well as being a necessary cog in all of our marketing processes. Today, as the World Social Media Day, we celebrate and recognise social media’s impact in society which has become a great opportunity for worldwide businesses.
Social media has completely transformed today’s society, out of the 7.476 billion inhabitants in the world, there are 2.789 billion active social media users and this is growing with an annual growth rate of 21%. Social media has allowed people to become their unique selves, it has helped the population to show more support and appreciation to things they are passionate about as well as being more vocal about things they disagree with. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Google + and Youtube have become the main social media platforms, with Facebook leading with 1.9 million unique users. 75% of male and 83% of female internet users are currently active users on Facebook, which has become the main platform for businesses to use commercially with 50 million businesses using Facebook Business Pages and 2 million of these using Facebook for advertising. However, platform preferences differ in different age gaps, and for those under 35 Instagram is the one. 90% of Instagram users are currently under 35 and 53% of these follow brand accounts in the platform, making it a great platform to use for businesses aiming to target millennials. Twitter is the ultimate bronze medallist, 81% of millennials check Twitter at least once per day and the platforms received 317 million unique monthly users. Apart from the platforms previously mentioned, LinkedIn and Pinterest are also worth being mentioned. Pinterest is a great platform to be used by retailers, 93% of Pinterest users use the platform to plan or make purchases, this is why this social platform drives 25% of all retail website referral traffic. In the case of LinkedIn, this platform is all about attracting new talent and communicating B2B as 45% of people making £70K a year or more use LinkedIn, this is also a great place to build relationships with potential business partners.
Social media being a good asset for businesses nowadays is an understatement; social platforms help businesses with website traffic, it’s an outstanding tool to build relationships with customers and world leaders, it helps businesses create positive brand image if used well, it helps businesses gain competitive advantage, which all leads to an outstanding increase in sales and ROI. No matter what industry, social media results in outstanding businesses performance if used efficiently, and unlike other marketing tools, social media is actually fun in addition to driving real value to businesses. Every opportunity to show content and increase visibility is valuable, social media platforms are just new channels to show brand voice, culture, values and content, which will eventually increase brand recognition. Brands who engage on social media also enjoy higher loyalty from their customers, by making them feel like they are part of the brand and the history it creates. But, the most important thing about social media is the humanisation element. When brands become more human by interacting with current and potential customers in social media platforms conversion rates increase.
What we’ve seen has barely scratched the surface of what’s coming and what is possible. According to the majority, if not all, of current entrepreneurs, social media marketing is the “next big thing”. Why Media Marketing Manager, Leah Hickey, comments:
“Social media has changed every aspect of customer communication, it is becoming more personal and people appreciate and reward that. It has opened large doors for SME’s by giving them the chance to be seen, to get their brand out there, but also to share and receive knowledge very easily as well as to have more access to innovation and creative ideas. It gives them the chance to get to know their customers better and so perform better as a business.”
Social media is evolving and developing daily, incorporating analysis into the creative equation has been a really big step forward, it is not about only creativity anymore, now it’s all about the right creativity. Businesses are getting to perform better than ever, they understand their customers need, wants and dislikes, and this is the biggest tool to have in business. As a marketing agency, we see nothing but exciting developments ahead and we look forward to seeing how far social media can get!