It’s pretty clear social media isn’t just a fad. It’s not just for college students or the tech-savvy. Social media is a staple in our everyday lives. There are over 3 billion internet users — and over 2 billion of them have active social media accounts, transforming what was once a hobby into a line item in business marketing plans.  

 

Is social media part of your marketing plan?  Should it be?

If your target audience is on social media and you plan to keep up with posting or pay someone to do it for you then, yes, adding it to your marketing plan is a good idea. However, if you’re going to set up your social profile, post for one month, and abandon ship, then no, skip it altogether. You don’t have to post like a teenage pop star, but you do have to make a commitment to make your mark in a social space. You don’t want visitors thinking you went out of business because your last post was three years ago. That’s defeating the purpose altogether.

 

Why add social media to your marketing mix?

 

Keep Up with the Joneses: At a certain point, marketing activities become status quo, and if you’re not keeping up, you’re left behind. If your biggest competitor, or even your marginal competition, is crushing social media, that’s a key indicator to seriously consider adding it to your marketing mix.

 

Drive Traffic Back to Your Website: Updating your website with valuable content is a time-consuming task. Visitors won’t just wander back on their own. Remind them, brag about your updates on social media, and send them back to the site for more goodness.

 

Be Part of the Conversation: According to 2016 Nielsen study, 67 percent of Americans say they’re at least a little more likely to purchase a product after a family member or friend shared it via social media. Social media is a soap box for the good, the bad, and the ugly. Like it or not, people may talk about your business on social media, and if you want to know what they’re saying or participate in the conversation, you know what to do.

 

Make Search Engine Optimization a Priority: Seventy-four percent of companies surveyed by Econsultancy claimed social media is either somewhat or highly integrated into their SEO strategy. Google takes your social media front and center, placing your Facebook web reviews below your company information in your Google My Business listing. While social media isn’t a Band-Aid for poor SEO practices, it plays a part in the big picture of your company’s online health.  

 

Meet Your Target Market Where They Are: Pew Research Center reports that seven in 10 internet-using American adults use social media. The question may not be if you should be on social media, but which social network you should choose. In 2016, Facebook was the social media giant, holding a far bigger share of users (79 percent) than Instagram (32 percent), Pinterest (31 percent), LinkedIn (29 percent), or Twitter (24 percent).  

Each social media platform is frequented by its own flavor of users. Choose one that connects best with your market. The Pew Research Center report breaks down each individually.

  • Millennials: Millennials can be found in abundance on each social network.  Overall, the networks show a good mix of all age groups, with the exception of Instagram. Over half of Instagram’s users are 18 to 29.
  • Affluent: LinkedIn has a far higher ratio of college grads and persons making over $75,000 than the other networks, followed closely by Twitter.
  • Over the Age of 50: Facebook captures 61% of internet users age 50 to 64, followed by Pinterest (24 percent) and LinkedIn (21 percent).
  • Women: Women outnumber men on Pinterest 2.5 to 1. Instagram, while catering to a younger crowd, also reports a slightly higher number of female users, with a 1.4 to 1 female to male ratio.
  • If in Doubt, Try Facebook: Facebook is the most-widely used of the major social media platforms, and some claim its user base is most broadly representative of the population as a whole.

 

If you don’t plan on keeping up with it, just don’t bother.

It’s easy to get swept away with the idea of social media.  Before you start, keep in mind that social media is social, and if you don’t plan on going to the party and making new friends, you may just want to stay home.

 

Monica Pitts is the chief creative director of MayeCreate Design.

 

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