A Fast-Forward Presentation of Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is that certain something that everybody is talking about. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn are the first names that probably pop into your mind when you hear someone referring to social media. The truth is that not many people are aware of its true complexity and power.
In order to understand the future, one must first take a look into the past.
Have You Ever Wondered where it All Began?
The Bulletin Board System
It started with the BBS (the Bulletin Board System) which were, in fact, online meeting places that allowed users to communicate with a central system where they could download files or games and post messages to other users. The BBS could be accessed over telephone lines via a modem. The end-user’s experience was highly restricted to exchanges of text-only data. The BBS was very popular throughout the ‘80s as well as the ‘90s.
There were also other enables of online social interaction, such as CompuServe, a service that was born in 1970s and reached the public masses in the late 1980s. CompuServe provided something entirely new and different to internet users. Firstly, it allowed members to share files as well as access news and events. Furthermore, users could send messages to friends via a new type of technology dubbed e-mail and join CompuServe’s discussion forums on topics that interested them.
But the true precursor of today’s social media channels was none other than America Online (AOL). It had member-created communities, where users could set up their profiles as well as search for friends’ information.
With the launch of Friendster in 2002, social networking began looking similar to what we have today. Friendster promoted the idea of having a “Circle of friends” (an online community) that shared the same interests and revolved around a common ground. Unfortunately, although Friendster enjoyed a lot of popularity, it now exists solely as an online gaming site.
The sober and professional network LinkedIn was launched in 2003, providing a different perspective upon what social networking meant at that time. Instead of following the same approach and being a channel for teenagers and classmates sharing common interests, the newly formed social media channel represented a unique way for business people who wanted to connect with other professionals. Today, LinkedIn has over 364 million members and the number is growing rapidly.
2004 was the year when Facebook was launched as a Harvard-only social network. It was in 2006 that the channel opened to the general public. The founding of Facebook represented one of the biggest moments in the history of social networking. The site has literally connected the world like no other social media channel. It’s no wonder they say that “if you’re not on Facebook, you don’t exist.”
The next big thing happened in 2006 with the launch of Twitter. Nowadays, it’s the place where many go first for breaking news. Twitter lists were introduced in 2009, sponsored tweets in 2010 and retweets with comments in 2015. The social media channel has come a long way since the early days of 2006. It’s now one of the most used social networks out there, together with Facebook.
In 2007, both Facebook and Twitter made a huge step by launching their own APIs. Furthermore, one of the keys to Facebook’s success was its Platform that made it possible for third-party developers to create applications that work within Facebook itself.
Becoming aware of the power of social media marketing, Google launched its own social network in 2007. Within just four weeks, Google+ had gathered 25 million unique visitors and is now among the top social media networks.
Where is Social Media now?
Well, surveys show that a staggering 93% of marketers use social media for business. As you’ve probably guessed, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are the top three social media networks used by marketers. A report issued by Social Media Examiner has revealed that a significant 92% of all marketers indicated that their social media marketing efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses. Increasing traffic was the second major benefit, with 80% reporting positive results. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogging, Google+ and Pinterest were the top seven platforms used by marketers, with Facebook leading the way.
The general statistics for the first four social media networks are as follows:
- There are now more than 1.44 billion monthly active Facebook users.
- There are more than 50 million Facebook pages.
- The most common reason to unlike a Facebook page is uninteresting posts.
- 75% of the engagement on a post happens during the first 5 hours.
- There are 302 million monthly active users.
- 76% of Twitter users now post status updates.
- 34% of marketers have used Twitter to successfully generate leads.
- The network now has over 540 million monthly active users.
- 40% of marketers use Google+.
- 70% of brands have a presence on Google+.
- The +1 button from Google+ is used 5 million times per day.
- Has over 364 million members.
- LinkedIn’s percentage of total global social sharing is 4%.
- Sends 64% of social referrals to corporate homepage.
The Key Tips for Each Network. Use Them Wisely
- Use visuals. For Facebook, it has been found that photo posts receive 39% more interaction. Posts that contain images receive 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% click-throughs than posts that just contain text.
- Keep it short. Shorter posts get 23% more interaction. Keeping your posts below 250 characters can get you 60% more engagement. You can even get up to 66% more engagement if you cut it down to less than 80 characters.
- Consider posting on Thursday and Friday since engagement rates are 18% higher on these two days.
- Posts that end with a question get 100% more comments, according to a study by HubSpot.
- 35% of Facebook fans like a page so they can participate in contests, while 42% of fans like a page to get a coupon discount.
- Engage,engage, engage. On Twitter, if you can’t provide a regular presence, you won’t be successful.
- Tweet during the weekend and later in the day.
- Follow the leads.
- Use images as often as you can. Tweets with images get two times the engagement rate of those without.
- Write tweets between 120 and 130 characters.
- In terms of content, industry insights rank first among users’ preferences with 6 out of 10 LinkedIn users showing interest in this type of content.
- LinkedIn is a professional network. Therefore, make sure to post during weekdays and avoid late afternoons and weekends.
- Post at least 20 times/month and make sure it’s quality content.
- Share your industry expertise through continuous engagement.
- Join communities sharing your interests and post valuable content on their pages.
- Fill your profile with useful information about you and what you do.
- Comment on influencers’ posts regularly.
- Use images and animated GIFs to drive engagement.
- Create and manage your circles so that you can share content more effectively.
When it comes to social media marketing, there’s no exact recipe for success. B2B and B2C have become H2H (Human to Human). In this context, engagement and valuable content are the two main ingredients your social media strategy can’t live without.
In our next article, we’ll be sharing Facebook’s tips and tricks with you. So stay tuned!