November 4, 2013

Marketing 101: Social Networks

In our Marketing 101 Series we demystify Digital Marketing by walking through the industry fundamentals and basic terminology. So, if you don’t know your SEM from your SEO or the difference between Opt-In and CAN-SPAM – this one’s for you!
Social Networks, we all know about them right? Facebook, Twitter, that business one called LinkedIn. Sure. But wait, that's fine if your looking at photo's of your Aunt Suzy, but what about for helping your build your business?

Let's start with the obvious - Facebook

I'm hoping I don't have to explain what Facebook is generally about. I'm going to assume I don't and jump straight to what you need to know about it as a marketing platform for your company.
First up - the numbers. Over 1 billion people are on it. Although it's pretty hard to actually leave it must be said. That being said though you can safely say that most of your customers and prospects are there. Facebook users can be any age, gender, race or religion - and generally location. It is the most used Social Network on the planet.
But what do people do there? Great question because that matters alot. Typically this is where Aunt Suzy comes in. People are sharing their experiences, uploading photos, videos or audio, sharing interests and 'liking' many many things.
Are they there to buy? Probably not. It is not Amazon or eBay after all. But, could they be pursuaded? Absolutely. And, because of the sheer volume of users, connecting with friends - in the right hands it is extremely powerful at raising brand awareness for the right type of product or service. So you should care, alot.


Often wrongly dismissed as trivial, the influence of Twitter and it's users cannot seriously be played down. It is massive. In the UK it accounts for 7% of all people online (opposed to 44% on Facebook). The key difference here though are their users profile. Twitter users are categorised as 'influencers' meaning people who like to be in the know, ahead of the curve. Crucially, this also means people who like to talk about things and hopefully, products like yours. Good old word-of-mouth again.
On Twitter users can post news items, observations about what they are doing or plan to do, articles, jokes, promotions - whatever they can think of in 140 characters or less. Where a character can be a letter, a number or a space. If someone 'follows' someone else on Twitter they get sent all their updates automatically, which is extremely powerful for any organisation wanting to keep up their communication levels. Which is all of us.
Why does this matter? Marketing these days is all about creating discussions. For new sales, product feedback, customer service, etc. and Twitter gives you a real time channel to make that happen. To potentially millions of people who are adept at talking about things. The technology is also free, which cannot be said for traditional marketing, TV, newspapers, radio, etc.

LinkedIn - the business one?

LinkedIn is widely known as the Social Network for business and this is largely true. It is the world's largest professional network with well over 175million users in more than 200 countries.
So who is on it? Business people. Lots of them. Professionals mostly but not exclusively.
How do they use it? Users create profiles and professional connections based on their interests and experience. These can centre around Group Discussions and Answering Questions to display their knowledge in any particular area.
Does it matter? Absolutely. LinkedIn is a great way to create professional connections for you and your organisation. It can give you ideas, advice and feedback for running your business - helping you spread the word about your product and service.


Still relatively new in Social Network land but when you're backed by the worlds largest search engine it doesn't matter, Google+ tries to make sharing on the web much more like real life by making it much easier to segment your contacts so you can share what you want with the people you want.
Does it matter? Ofcourse. Did I mention it's backed by the worlds most popular website? The latest way being anyone signing up for a Google account automatically gets a Google+ account whether they want one or not.
What could it mean for my business? It's too early to say. The company pages side of Google+ is very young, barely out of nappies. It could be great, we will have to wait and see, but it is definitely one to watch and if you like being ahead of the curve, consider getting a head start on it now.

Which one is right for you?

This depends largely on what it is you do or sell, and to whom. Are they businesses or consumers or both? What's their age range? Level of education? All these things matter.
It's crucial to get this right to maximise your Return on Investment but generally most people start with Facebook because of the overwhelming user numbers and organisations are generally 'expected' to be on it so far as for customer services. The next alternative is almost always Twitter.
If you'd like more information on our Social Media Management services please click here or use the contact form to get in touch. Ofcourse if you prefer, you can give us a call in the office on 020 3303 0005.

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