I see the online wanted ads almost daily: an insurance firm hiring a “Social Media Specialist;” a school district looking for a “Community and Social Media Program Manager;” a hair salon franchise in search of a “Social Media Development Lead;” and a leading payroll/benefits outsourcer advertising for a “Social Media Manager” are a few more recent listings. I frequently get invited to webinars, too, covering topics such as “How to Master LinkedIn” and other social media outlets. A recent email touted “Instagram Strategies” for business.
Citing more evidence that social media is a growth industry, Ad Age tweeted in January, “There are more than 180,000 social media ‘gurus,’ ‘ninjas,’ ‘masters,’ and ‘mavens’ on Twitter. (That’s up from 16,000 in 2009, an article link added.)
Let there be doubt no longer that businesses, including print firms, are making money from social media. (See “Social Data”) These investments in resources, human and otherwise, prove that. Social media can help to improve your firm’s sales numbers, said Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner. While the Internet doesn’t supplant print media, many entrepreneurs do look for business partners online, and they’re using social media to find them. Aside from your website, can they find you?
As I reported in mid-2012, usage numbers do not lie. Nearly 80 percent of U.S. adults who are online use social networks, reported Netpop Research. That amounts to approximately 147 million people. Eight percent use Twitter daily, revealed a Pew Research study. Nearly one of every five minutes online is spent on social networks, according to statistics compiled by comScore. Nielsen research revealed that people online continue to spend more time on social networks than any other category of sites: 20 percent of that time spent on PCs and 30 percent on mobile devices. One of every seven minutes spent online is spent on Facebook, and more than half of Facebook users now navigate to the site via mobile smartphones, iPads, and other tablet computers.
Consider these facts:
- Thirty years ago, there were 4.6 billion people in the world—and not a single mobile-phone subscriber.
- Today, the world population is around 7 billion, and there are some 6 billion mobile/cellular phone subscriptions, according to an MIT report.
- Some 64 percent of smartphone users now access social networking sites or blogs almost every day.
On the business side, a study by public relations firm Burson-Marsteller found that 84 percent of Fortune 100 companies are actively engaged in at least one social media platform. Stelzner’s “Social Media Marketing Industry Report,” measuring the responses of some 3,800 marketing professionals at primarily small- to medium-sized businesses, noted that 93 percent use social media for marketing purposes and 85 percent reported increased company exposure as a result of their efforts.
Some eight in 10 companies participated in social-media marketing last year, nearly double the number in 2009, according to EMarketer estimates. All of them are feverishly working to convert customers and prospects who’ve engaged by clicking Facebook’s “Like” icon, by tweeting, by commenting, by sharing. And they’re spending a lot of money to do so: Companies spent just over $2 billion on social-media advertising in 2010; that number is projected to grow to nearly $8 billion in the next 24 to 30 months, said media consulting firm BIA/Kelsey.
What about Foursquare for Business? Two people checked in recently at Out of Hand Flyer Print and Distribution, Bristol, U.K. Who cares? Maybe you should, if you want more customers walking through your door. It’s all about connectivity, after all. http://business.foursquare.com/