What is social media? It’s a simple question, but many people don’t know the answer. According to Wikipedia, social media: is online content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies; it’s a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologues (one to many) into dialogues (many to many) and is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers. Basically, it’s a communication tool via the internet.
When some people think of social media they think of Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. However, social media is much bigger and wider than the main social media sites. The beauty of social media is that you can create niche social communities online about whatever topics or industries you choose. There’s a wide range of social media sites out there from healthcare and real estate to fashion and shopping. Simply put, if you’ve thought about it, there’s probably a social media community that you could join. Even better, if no one has started a social media site about your hobby or passion, you can start one and find other people who share your enthusiasm. For example, there’s a site called “Care 2”, which encourages people to make a difference on the issues they care about, whether it’s helping the poor or animal welfare. They encourage the people in their social community to make the difference and connect with other people who want to make a difference.
Social media includes many different topics and issues. In fact, it seems to have no limits. It’s like space; there are always new frontiers to explore. The next time you think of social media, don’t just limit yourself to thinking of teenage friends socializing online. Remember that social media spans many ages and covers many topics. Get out there and socialize, you may be surprised at what you find.
Facebook already offers behavioral targeting which allows advertisers to reach visitors based on interests. Advertisers can also target visitors by demographics. For example, marketers can target females between the ages of 25-34 with college degrees that are interested in travel.
Slowly, Facebook has been enhancing its targeting features. With the recent release of ad scheduling and ad editing, advertising on Facebook is becoming more appealing. Last week, Facebook announced even more features to enhance targeting. First and perhaps most interesting is connection targeting. With connection targeting, advertisers have the ability to only reach fans of any of their pages, users of any of their applications, members of any of their groups, or attendees of any of their events, which can help solidify brand loyalty with the right messaging.
Another feature update is the ability to advertise in multiple countries. In the past, if you wanted to target different countries, you would need to create a new campaign. Now, advertisers have the options to add up to 25 different countries per campaign. Ad delivery is based on IP address.
Birthday targeting is another feature that was recently released. The ability to capture this specific audience sounds insignificant, but can be very powerful. Remember, by creating very specific ad copy messaging, you can reach an exact audience. Who wouldn’t click on an ad that says, “Happy Birthday to you. Click here and save 10% on your purchase for your birthday”?
With each rollout of enhancements from Facebook, advertisers have more opportunities to better target their audience. Combined with specific ad copy, advertisers can reach a highly qualified and engaged audience.
Social Media is a necessary part of any company’s online marketing strategy. Businesses just starting to investigate social media have to determine what social media channels fit best. Each channel requires a different amount of invested time to manage and promote. Also, some social media channels cater to certain types of demographics and types of content. Audience can vary greatly depending on the channel. In order to help you through the process of learning what channels fit, read below, as it will offer some high level perspective in selecting which channels might make the most sense for your organization.
Facebook-Has a very impressive amount of users-over 250 million users monthly. 2/3 of those users are out of college, and the fastest growing demographic currently is females over 55. Average incomes among FaceBookers are: 25% at 30k-60K, 29% 60k-100k, and 29% 100k+. FaceBook’s audience is worldwide, with 50 supported translated languages. About 75 million users are in the United States, and 175 million users are logging in internationally. If you want to reach the widest amount of users, with all kinds of interests, ages and professions, this channel is definitely the place to be. FaceBook does require a person being in charge of updating the page often, and responding to inquiries. Typically, this channel would need 2-3 hours weekly to promote, update, and respond to inquiries for a small to midsize business. To make the channel more engaging, having collateral such as pictures and videos are great. If you have a web developer, creating widgets & applications is a definite plus, but not necessary.
Myspace-Has around 120 million users, of which 62 million are in the United States. Over the past year or so, MySpace has been losing ground to FaceBook. While this channel still has a very large audience, it is much younger overall, so products geared to tweens, teens, and young adults will have more success in this channel. 6% of users are 18-34 and 27% of users are 12-17 years of age. MySpace has about 14% more females than males, and 56% of users have no college background, while the other 44% have some college, or graduate college. The average incomes are spread pretty evenly, with 22% making under 30k, 27% making 30k-60k, and 26% making 60k-100k. This channel also requires 2-3 hours weekly to promote, update and respond to inquiries for small to mid-size business. Marketing collateral such as pictures and videos are wonderful ways to enhance user engagement in this channel.
Twitter-Has about 27 million users, and is one of the fastest growing social media sites. 45% of users are male. There are about as many users with a college degree as those having not attended college. 43% of users are 18-34, where 31% are 35-49, and 19% are 50+. Average incomes in Twitter are 29% 30k-60k, 25% 60k-100k, and 26% making 100k+. The Twitter platform is very different when compared to FaceBook or MySpace. Twitter is a micro blogging site, and requires constant updating, pretty much all day long, so having dedicated resources to this channel is a must! Pictures and Video content for Twitter aren’t really ideal, as this is a site all about sharing text content quickly. Twitter has been popular among news media since spreading information through Twitter is instantaneous. If you have information you want to share quickly, this is a great resource to use to reach your audience.
YouTube-Has about 550 million visits each month, with 72.5 million users logging in. A lot of YouTube visits aren’t found on YouTube’s own website. Instead people find videos in Google search results, or videos uploaded to websites from Google. YouTube claims visitors are 50% female/50% male. 52% of users either have college education, or completed graduate school, while 48% haven’t attended college. Statistics seem pretty even all the way around; even average incomes are spread very evenly. YouTube is a very powerful social media channel, but serves a very specific purpose: video content. This channel is great for someone who has video assets at their disposal, and/or has plans to start creating video content. This channel can be more expensive and time consuming, since video production time is both expensive and takes time; that is unless the company is already producing video content. In those situations just uploading existing content them to this channel would certainly be ideal if you want to get your videos in front of as many people as possible.