What Is Social Media & Social Media Marketing?
By definition, social media is forms of electronic communication (as web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (Merriam-Webster, 2015). The phrase ‘social media marketing’ has not been officially defined, however the terms ‘social media’ and *‘marketing’ are both clearly defined and this is where we can draw our conclusion that social media marketing is a process where websites gain attention or traffic through social media sites. Social marketing programs normally rally around creating relevant and attractive content to encourage readers to share it on their own social networks.
Social Media Explained With Broccoli
A few years ago, Douglas Wray posted a whiteboard breakdown on Instagram (the photo sharing service) of all major social media networks that explained how they differed by using donuts. Many analogous graphics have been created since then, but we thought we’d keep the fun going and create one of our own. In lieu of the New Year, and all of us (attempting) to keep our healthier resolutions—we decided to explain using broccoli.
What Are Social Networks?
In a very basic definition, social networks are the platforms on which users can effectively share different types of content or media. These networks are used for a number of reasons. Inexpensive marketing, advertising, customer relation management (CRM), global exposure, thought leadership, branding, networking and personal use are just some of the many reasons one may use a social network.
What Are The Most Popular Social Networking Sites?
In the past six years, the number of worldwide social network users has grown exponentially into the billions and is predicted to grow to over 2.44 billion by 2018. According to eBizMBA Rank, a breakdown of the top ten most popular networking sites are listed below. We’ve also listed the networks by 2015 user statistics for each network (according to data published by each social network).
Top 10 Most Popular Social Networking Sites
- Facebook— 1.01 billion daily active users on average (September 2015)
- Google Plus+—418 million active users (December 2015)
- LinkedIn—400 million plus registered members (September 2015)
- Instagram—400 million plus users (September 2015)
- Twitter—320 million monthly active users (September 30, 2015)
- Tumblr—273.7 million blogs (January 2016)
- Vine—200 million monthly active users (August 2015)
- Pinterest—100 million monthly active members (September 30, 2015)
- Meetup—24.36 million members (January 2016)
- Flickr—16 million plus monthly active users (April 2015)
Who Uses Social Networking Sites?
There are a number of different social networks that people of all ages use for different purposes. Facebook, for example, may be used for personal or business purposes—this holds the same for all other social networks as well. With that being said, an interesting ten-year social media usage study, completed by Pew Research Center, shows that 65 percent of adults and 75 percent of all internet users (in the U.S.) now use social networking sites.
Furthermore, a variety of notable demographic trends (shown below) emerged in Pew’s analysis of the data as well.
Social Media Demographic Data
• Young adults (18-29) are most likely to use social media—fully 90 percent.
• Women are more likely to use social media than men, however the difference is very slight with the fact being that 68% of all women and 62% of all men use social media.
• About the same number of people across race and ethnicity are use social media.
• More than half (58 percent) of rural residents use social media today—a number that has significantly increased over the past decade.
So, Why Use It?
Social media and social media marketing have their benefits—whether you will use it for personal, educational or business purposes. If you’re looking to quickly build relationships, share your opinions or expertise, increase your personal visibility, educate yourself or connect instantly with others, then you’re ready to start using social networking sites for personal use. LinkedIn, for example, is a network built more around professional networking that can help you connect with like-minded business professionals and even fuel potential job opportunities. On the other hand, you may be considering using social media as a part of your business’ digital marketing strategy to increase brand awareness and brand loyalty, build better customer service and drive higher conversion rates.
Some Benefits Of Using Social Media
• Helps deliver better customer service
• Builds brand awareness and loyalty
• Creates better customer experiences
• Builds relationships
• Increases personal and business visibility
• Drives traffic to your website, in turn drives revenue
• Allows you an outlet to share facts and opinions to others
• Drives higher conversion rates
• Promotes real-time communication
Bottom line—whether or not you decide to jump on the social bandwagon, the data shows that these social sites are here to stay and will continue to grow for many years to come. Perhaps it’s better to get started sooner, rather than later, so that you can take advantage of various customized opportunities that social media can provide for you or your business.
If you are still feeling a bit skeptical about using social media to drive your business goals, please feel free to contact us. We can talk through the amazing benefits of using social media as a supportive tool that works for your business needs and help you craft a custom social media strategy that drives revenue.
*Marketing: the activities that are involved in making people aware of a company’s products, making sure that the products are available to be bought, etc. (Merriam-Webster, 2015)