Social Media is Evolving Faster than You Can Imagine
How To Choose?
Tips & Tricks for Tapping into the Social Mediaverse!
Social media managers today are blessed with so much variety, it's scary. The expression – spoilt for choice – does not even come close to the reality on the ground, or rather up in the clouds. If we were simply working with Twitter and Facebook, things would be so much simpler. Instead, we have scores of social media networks to contend with, including: LinkedIn, Facebook, and G+; bookmarking sites like Delicious and StumbleUpon; news sites such as Reddit and Digg; media sharing sites such as Flickr, Instagram and YouTube; microblogging sites such as Twitter and looping videos with Vine. Each of these fantastic social channels provides access to the mass market and every conceivable niche it contains. There is no doubt that there is a great degree of dispersion in digital marketing, and this has largely taken place in the last two years. Social media marketing is taking on a more personal tone, with personalization playing a prominent role in how content is shared and enjoyed on the Internet. Today, an estimated 20%+ of the global populace uses social media in one form or another.
Global Internet Statistics
The world's population currently stands at 7.210 billion people. Of that number, some 53% are urbanized. 3.010 billion people actively use the Internet on a daily basis and of that number 2.078 billion people use social media. Even more surprising is the number of unique mobile users, which now stands at 3.649 billion people. Mobile users with active access to social accounts numbers 1.685 billion people. These figures tell us one thing: social media marketing matters. People everywhere are tweeting 140 character messages, and even sharing videos and group conversations on Twitter. Facebook remains the king of social media sites with well over 1 billion people actively using Facebook to post comments, share stories, express their opinions and watch videos. With so much going on at any given time, it is imperative that companies stay abreast of the latest developments by strategically investing in social media for maximum benefit. There are countless examples of how social commerce is succeeding in the world. Consider for a moment things like Twitter Product Cards, or the smoyz campaign on Pinterest as cases in point. Recently, we have seen the introduction of online shopping facilities on social network sites such as Twitter and Facebook. These are all geared towards facilitating exchange and making it so much easier for marketing campaigns on social networks to succeed. Call to Action (CTA) buttons like ‘Buy Now’ are rapidly changing the way social media marketers are approaching these new-age challenges.
Social Media Revolution
And for the most part, in-house marketing managers do not need to redesign the systems that their campaigns will be featured on – everything is already there. Social media sites like Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and others have a vested interest in perfecting their platforms so that their stock prices and shareholders are kept happy at all times. Social video is proving to be the most compelling way to engage customers at every level. Companies are looking to develop grassroots video campaigns with their users and not only professional media agencies. At all times, a fine balancing act has to be struck between maintaining the social nature of social media campaigns, and the business aspect.
Which Countries Dominate Global Online Traffic?
The rapid rise of China, and Asia as a whole, has catapulted this region into pole position in terms of Internet users, active social media accounts and mobile connections. 27% of all Internet traffic in the world comes from East Asia, with 22% of all mobile connections emanating from this region. North America by contrast accounts for only 5% of the world’s population, with 10% of active social media accounts and 10% of all Internet traffic. Western Europe accounts for 6% of the world’s population and 11% of all Internet users. The total active number of social media accounts in Western Europe accounts for 9% of the world's global users. The below graphic displays in detail the stats for all regions. Internet usage is highest in North America with a full 88% of the population connected. Canada tops the US with 93% connected, followed by the US at 92%. Next up is West Europe at 81%, followed by Oceania at 69%, and South America at 56%. East Asia and south-east Asia have 51% and 33% Internet usage respectively – though these figures are misleading since their populations are massive.
Viral marketing and agile marketing are at the forefront of successful marketing campaigns today. There is power numbers, and social media managers looking for mass-market coverage will do well to find the perfect mix in this regard. Another interesting sector that social media managers will be looking at is that of private messaging. Some societies tend towards private messaging on topics that may otherwise be deemed taboo. Many people consider private messaging to be of greater importance to them on social media than general mass-market messages that flash across their pages. By tapping into the private messaging market as part of a strategic social media campaign, greater benefits tend to be gained.
Likely Social Media Advertising Patterns for 2015
Video advertising is likely to gain traction in 2015, inspired by the popularity of Facebook autoplay ads, Snapchat and Instagram video ads. A great degree of interlinking will take place between brands and social media channels, to better understand the nature and preferences of user groups. A greater degree of automating, retargeting, retention and reactivation of your prospective target audience is on the cards. The trick once again is how best to perform these business-related activities without isolating users in the social media arena. Many of us are instantly turned off by blatant advertising on social media sites, and therein lies the challenge for companies. As we have already seen, the greatest growth in the Internet is taking place in the mobile arena. Smartphones, tablets and phablets are all the rage and apps are the tools we use to connect with the Internet of Things. Retailers are pouring tremendous energy into the mobile marketing arena, and social media sites are cashing in on the mobile revolution with better apps and features than ever before. Full optimization of social media and websites are likely to be at the forefront of the strategic objectives of companies around the world.
Throwing Caution to the Wind
The social media marketing train is thundering ahead at a rate of knots. However it's important to take stock of what businesses should and should not be doing with respect to social media. Businesses need to clearly distinguish between strategies and tactics. The tools used to get marketing messages to the mass-market will always change, but the strategy needs to be consistent. The fundamentals of a social marketing campaign should always be in place before taking to the social media airwaves. It should be remembered that participation in social media sites is completely user determined. Therefore the focus should be on lead generation and retention. Social media managers should focus on the essence of social media – communication between customers and the business – selling is always a secondary component.
As the importance of social media grows, so social media budgets will increase accordingly. It is impossible for a single person to understand the pulse of the market on social media channels. Therefore it will be necessary to diversify talent, enrich the social media marketing messages and bridge the customer service function with the marketing objectives of social media campaigns. This boils down to dollars and cents at the end of the day. How do you quantify or qualify the success of a social media campaign? Likes, comments and shares are one thing – but how do they add up when it comes to revenue generation? We need to be more effective at closing the deal in social media marketing and that's a wrap!