“Those who still think that social network users are too busy engaging with friends to notice marketers must change their viewpoint. Brand interactions are real, valuable, and growing.”
Debra Aho Williamson, Senior Analyst
The Society of Digital Agencies1 reported in the 2010 Digital Marketing Outlook that “social network-related marketing” is the 2010-2011 first concern amidst senior marketing executives. It is even considered as more important than email and mobile marketing, search optimization and other digital marketing campaigns.
Social Media is a very young phenomenon in terms of tools for marketing but it started back in the 80’s2 with the apparition (and proliferation) of chats, forums and blogs. People were able to share files, links but more importantly ideas. Marketers were not concerned at that time because mostly only technology-oriented people (and supposingly early adopters) were using Social Media and this population did not represent a big enough target to be considered.
But since the early 2000, several social media have emerged and gained popularity, and the traditional mass marketing model is highly challenged. Now that the main social networks (Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin) count more users than the population3 of most countries (Facebook: 600 million unique users, Twitter: 100 million, Linkedin: 41 million4), social media is seen as an entire component of modern society. Not only early adopters are on these networks but a wide range of the global population: men and women from 18 (legal minimum age for most of social networks).
According to a study of the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project5, the engagement in social networking is globally about the same between men and women. The exception is in the USA where women (52%) tend to use social networking more than men (41%).6 And the diversity among these people is huge: from the USA to India, from top managers to first-level employees, from grand-parents to teenagers. Nearly every part of the global population is represented on the net and this is therefore a platform marketers cannot neglect anymore.
According to Kyle Hensel, Michael H. Deis, “Twitter has become known for its ability to break news before the news even reaches traditional media outlets“7. It was made evidence lately with the “Arab Spring” and the “DSK arrest“.
Engaging online is now an evidence. But how can we effectively interact with the audience? And more importantly, how can we know what we are doing is efficient?
Any ideas? Please leave a comment and we’ll all try to answer this question together!
5 “Global Publics Embrace Social Networking” presented by Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project
6 Social Media Trends, Bob Violin, Communications of the ACM, vol. 54, no. 2, February 2011
7 Using social media to increase advertising and improving marketing, Kyle Hensel, Michael H. Deis, Clayton State University, The Entrepreneurial Executive, Volume 15, 2010