As the owner of a marketing agency, I am often asked whether a company should take on social media themselves, or hire an outside agency to do it for them. It’s a good question. In fact, it’s one of the most important and frequently asked questions of our digital business age. However, before I answer who should implement your social media, I want to address why you should make social media an integral part of your marketing strategy.
Small and medium business (SMB) owners, particularly those of B2B businesses, struggle with finding the value of social media. They often think of it as nothing more than people talking about what they had for dinner last night, or the music they are listening to (which, depending on your company’s field of expertise, may be rather useful information!). To be sure, there are many conversations occurring, covering a wide array of topics. Regardless, if you have a brand and want to further it,I advise you not toignore social media.
If we think back to about 14 years ago, in 1998, when the internet was at its infancy, many SMB’s were questioning whether or not they should have a website. Although it is hard for us to imagine this debate happening today, business owners were questioning the validity of websites, and wanted to see hard evidence to substantiate their investment.
Their questions made perfect sense then, as they do today regarding social media – they want to see real proof to justify an investment in social media, either with internal staff or an external agency.
There are various statistics bandied about the industry when looking for this “hard evidence” or value in social media, but the top four stats that stand out for me are:
- 62% of the world’s population uses social networking, making it the most popular online activity.
- Over half of social networkers follow a brand online.
- Over half of consumers say they are more likely to recommend a brand if they are fans of the company online.
- Online ad spending increased to just over $30 billion in the U.S. last year, over 20% increase (Source: ComScore).
I share these four stats as I feel that they best provide the “hard evidence” a SMB needs to understand why they should integrate social media into their marketing strategy: the audience is there, your competitors are there, the audience wants to engage with brands there, and you can target your advertising there.
Simply put, social media is not going away anytime soon. As such, if you are not using social media in your marketing strategy, you run the risk of losing business to other companies that are.
In next week’s blog, I’ll outline some points to consider when making a decision to use internal or external resources to execute your social media strategy.
Have you integrated social media into your marketing strategy? If not, why not? If so, do you have any success stories you’d like to share? Please let me know in the comments below.