In less than two months, Facebook will celebrate the seventh anniversary of its emergence from academia to being a public social media outlet. In Internet years, that’s a lifetime — and then some. With more than 1 billion active users, Facebook is the most popular social media site. And reports indicate there are more than 11 million Facebook business pages.
Despite the proliferation of social media in all its forms, the concept still seems lost on a large number of small business owners. For some, it’s a scary frontier land filled with identity thieves. For others, it simply seems like a waste of time when traditional marketing methods work just fine (thankyouverymuch).
Whether a small business owner chooses to embrace social media or not, it’s important to understand it’s a form of communication and interaction that’s not going away. Like it or not, social media is a powerful influence on not just people, but businesses, marketing practices and even sales and customer service. Larger enterprises have mostly adopted social media and are using it for a variety of purposes, from product announcements to lead generation to customer service.
But social media is a big place. For instance, if Facebook were a recognized nation, it would be just behind India in terms of population and would likely soon be overtaking India’s number two spot on the list of top countries by population. Only China rivals India, but give the empire that Zuckerberg built some time and it will surely soon have a populace larger than any nation on the planet.
And that’s only Facebook. Add in the likes of Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and the hundreds of other social media websites and applications, and it’s a whole other story. The population of social media is a large portion of the planet’s population — and it’s safe to say it’s the majority of the population in many nations.
Trying to unravel the complex web of social media is like trying to untangle a ball of yarn … one-handed … in the dark. With some time, effort and dedication, social media can become a strong tool in your marketing and customer service toolkit. And you don’t even need knitting needles.
It’s not easy to build a social marketing campaign and stick to it, but over the next few weeks (maybe months), I’m going to give you a few tips and tricks to help you build a following on your social media platform of choice, create a strategy so you don’t suffer from the same maladies that strike many business social media efforts, and learn to effectively communicate with a whole new audience that is tech-savvy, engaging, has a strong sense of entitlement, and needs to be drawn in with 140 characters or less (go ahead, say it… Millennials!).
Until the next instalment, check out this article I wrote for the Freshbooks blog on success with gaining new clients through social media marketing.