Monday, November 14, 2011

Social Media No Longer Niche Marketing – GEC Business Review


by Jess Lee

Be it carpenters, plumbers, bakers or used car sellers, it’s learnt that technological shift has been so profound that ignoring the potential of social media channels like Facebook, Twitter or other platforms can be considered as irrelevance, in responding to nowadays’ competitive business scene.

According to study, as of June 2011, there were over 930 million Internet users around the world visit at least one social networking site daily, making it as one of the most popular online activities. Look, such number just keeps growing.

What’s even more impressive than such huge volume of traffic to social networks is the amount of time that a user spends on social media sites. In fact, social media networks now capture more time than emails, television news, games and entertainment activities. Having said that, people tend to spend less time on televisions, but social media networks nowadays!

Instant messengers are the only online activity more engaging than social networking in the region. Interestingly, visitors in some developing countries are spending more than four hours a month on social networking sites, there are including Philippines (6.4), Indonesia (5.8), Australia (4.7), Hong Kong (4.5), Malaysia (4.5), Singapore (4.3), New Zealand (4.1), South Korea (3.1) and Taiwan (2.9).

But one would wonder if social media networks are just for young people, but not adults or businessmen? That’s no longer the case. Studies have shown that what used to be an activity dominated by the 18-24 year old demographic is now a main activity in the digital lives of users across all age groups with all walks of lives!

In Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong for instance, more than half of social network surfers are age 35 and older.

What about the Facebook and Twitter platforms, both possess sheer gravitational power with more than 750 million and 120 million users respectively, by far.

Thus, social media networks undoubtedly offer communication between you (your company, brand and product/services etc.) and your customers, whether existing or potential customers. There are many case studies about successful word-of-mouth campaigns through the “sharing” among friends. That’s the beauty of social media networks!

For instance, if you create a simple post that brings intrinsic value and spurs interest within your social community, your social media friends “like” it, or “share” it, or “re-tweet” it etc., such post will just take off with a life of its own.

So, for small business operators who are social media-hesitant and still uncertain about its effectiveness when measured against the necessary time investment, I recommend two Facebook / Twitter posts daily, simply just to keep in touch with your customers. The first one post should focus on “your business” and the other one should be more "conversational" … sort of small talk often shared among friends, probably the music video you’re watching or a dining experience at a fine restaurant.

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