Monday, September 19, 2011

Expert John Garrett: Social Media Marketing - What's the Point?

Photo Credit - Flickr Common

Guest Contributor – John Garrett, CEO, Facilities Management Advisors LLC

Social media has become increasingly popular of late, with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, among others, evolving to become widely accepted as part of our cultural fabric.

How can we utilize social media in its various forms to reinforce our brand, more effectively promote our business, and more effectively market our business in order to maximize market share?

If you are a small business owner, entrepreneur, or for that matter, any manager responsible for driving business improvements and increased market share, neglecting the value of social media in today's marketplace could place unnecessary limitations on your overall success.

To be sure, if you fit within one of the aforementioned categories, you are most likely extremely busy! Within today's business climate, you may be asked to accomplish more with less, essentially delivering your products or services faster, smarter, cheaper.

Social Networking - What's the Value?

Clearly, traditional advertising is broadly being replaced by Internet marketing. Don't believe it? When was the last time you read a newspaper in lieu of a web–based news source?

Whether reading the USA Today or Wall Street Journal, nearly two-thirds of business travelers recently polled noted that they preferred reading the news from an Internet source, either through their laptop, iPad, and/or smart phone.

In fact, print advertising industry revenues have astoundingly declined by as much as 25% this past year alone.

Just think - people, including your current and potential customers, are increasingly relying on the Internet for most functions, including access to news outlets, research, networking, and general business activities.

Social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and of course blogging, are amongst the most popular social media outlets available. Without question, Internet marketing presents outstanding opportunities for both entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Large Fortune 500 companies often underutilized social networks. Rather, they rely on traditional outlets such as newspaper, television, etc.

In comparison, small businesses have realized that they can more effectively market their business, reinforce their brand, and touch more customers through social media.

Perhaps just as important, doing so requires minimal capital investment (and more often than not, is free), and requires only a moderate investment of time. Even better, using social media can be quite enjoyable!

Still wondering if social media marketing can help your business? Consider the following:

YouTube

* Founded in 2005.

* By 2010, YouTube received over 2 billion viewers each day, with over 24 hours of video uploaded every minute.

* 70% of YouTube users are from the United States.

* The average person spends 15 minutes per day on YouTube.

LinkedIn

* Founded in 2003.

* Over 60 million members as of 2010.

* LinkedIn is adding up to 5 million members every 60-days.

* Nearly half of LinkedIn membership is International.

* Over 76 million people visit LinkedIn every month.

Facebook

* In 2004, Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg.

* By 2010, Facebook had over 400 million users.

* There are over 100 Million people accessing Facebook currently through their mobile devices.

* 60 Million people connect to Facebook on external websites.

* If Facebook were a country, it would be the 3rd largest in the world.

* Facebook users spend an average of 55 minutes per day browsing (or an average of 6.5 hours per week).

Twitter

* Founded in 2006.

* By 2010, Twitter has more than 175 million users.

* 80% of Twitter users use Twitter on their mobile devices, or smartphones.

* There were over 50 million tweets in 2010.

* There are more than 600 million searches on Twitter every day.

Truly amazing statistics!!! I have always believed that data should lead us to the right conclusion, and clearly social media marketing has had a substantial worldwide impact on how people communicate, network, invest their time, and conduct business.

Are you still wondering if social media marketing can have a positive impact on your business?

According to a recent social media marketing survey by Nielsen, over 80% of businesses reported an increase in customer inquiries through the use of various social media outlets, with small business owners reporting the best overall return on investment.

When asked how significant the time commitment required for social media marketing, business leaders responded as follows: 35% reported investing up to 10 hours a week, nearly 10% more than 20 hours per week, while a third reportedly invested roughly 5 hours per week.

Twitter has proven to be the more commonly used social media tool, followed by blogs and LinkedIn. To be sure, there is one common trait between both the buyer and seller, namely, it's a relationship oriented business and people buy from people they like!

It should be no secret that potential buyers want to know you, like you, and ultimately trust you. Regardless of whether or not your sales cycle is relatively short, or prolonged, social media marketing drives improved customer relationships, brand recognition, and overall familiarity with your product or service.

I have always believed that familiarity breeds success, and the more familiar both your current and prospective customers are with your business and you as individuals, the more successful you are likely to be.

Business owners and managers are increasingly aware of this reality as evidenced by the emphasis they are placing on social media marketing by way of monetary investment.

A recent analysis conducted by Forrester Research, Inc, an independent technology and market research company, demonstrates that businesses of all sizes have increased social media spending steadily over the last several years, with such spending habits expected to continue, if not increase.

Simply put, they have and will continue to see a positive return on investment. Clearly, these returns are often best reflected in improved customer loyalty, profitability, and market share.

John Garrett is a Senior Executive with 18 years Business Development, Operations Management, Customer Relationship Management, Business Strategy & Management Consulting, Sales and Marketing experience within the Facilities Management & Corporate Real Estate Industry.

Garrett has led growth efforts with clients that included some of the most recognized Fortune 500 organizations in the world across multiple market segments. He led operational assessments and growth initiatives that involved in excess of 400 Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) throughout the Americas.

Garrett’s company, facilities management advisors LLC, is a certified Women/Minority Business Enterprise (W/MBE) providing consultative services to both large and small businesses across a variety of market segments, specializing in the following:

* Organic and New Business Development

* Customer Relationship Management

* Facility Service Consulting

* Operational & Strategic Planning

* Cost Analysis & Budgeting

* Sales Management

* Performance Metrics

* Outsourcing

* Change Management

* National Contract Sales

* Marketing/Brand Management

* Technical Writing/Design

* Social Media Marketing

For additional information, please call 888.656.0740, or visit Facilities Management Advisors LLC.

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