Social media is now the most powerful tool of our time. Whether Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or (for my generation) Instagram and Snapchat, it is almost impossible to avoid social media.
Over the past 10-15 years social networking has grown from a pipe dream of a bunch of enthusiastic tech entrepreneurs, such as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and everybody's best pal, MySpace Tom (remember him?), to the most rapidly growing community on the planet.
From footballers taking to the web to announce their next move, thus generating mass hysteria among passionate fans, to Donald Trump attempting to appear like he knows what he’s doing via a series of tweets, it is evident that social media is ever growing and we must capitalise on this in marketing and truly reap the benefits.
Everywhere you turn, you are bound to see an individual face-planted to their phone, scrolling vigorously as if their life depends on it. Whether it’s due to a sense of escapism from the real world or a desire to take the perfect selfie with an array of filters, there is no getting away from the hard facts: there are upwards of 39 million social media users in the UK alone, with expected growth to close to 50 million by 2022.
This brings me to the conclusion that we are now living in the Social Media Age. And we must embrace this, both in life and in business. Let me tell you why.
Technology has become so sophisticated that we are now able to gain data on an individual, from their name, demographics, location, right through to their specific job title, simply through tracking them through their social media accounts. As creepy as this may be, we must capitalise on this now, especially with the dreaded new GDPR regulations set to soon come in (that’s another conversation for another time!).
Many are weary about the prospect of social advertising, not fully trusting or understanding how to use it effectively. However, simply adding links to a business’ social pages on an email will see click-through rates improve by 150 per cent. This, combined with 46 per cent of online purchases being made through the help of social networking, suggests that an individual who has been directly targeted online is more likely to make a purchase when it is put in front of them.
Being B2B marketers, the name of the game is to generate leads and brand awareness, right? With social media we are able to kill two birds with one stone (metaphorically), as we can use this aforementioned data to confirm leads, while using more traditional display advertising to generate awareness. Does this not make it clear that we as an industry are merely just scratching upon the surface of a tool that could revolutionise the market?
The below perfectly sums up the impact that social networking has and what it’s potential is.
In today’s heavily interconnected world, social media does not merely entertain or help keep in touch with friends, but also contribute immensely to the global economy in terms of job creation, corporate social responsibilities, huge monetary contributions to charities, eco-friendly projects, payment of taxes and other economic contributions. With only Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp and Pinterest topping a combined market value of about $285 billion; social media looks set to dominate the online space and consequently our lives.