Businesses large and small are always looking for new ways to reach out to their customers – and in turn, make more money. With so many options for marketing campaigns, it’s difficult to know which avenues to pursue.
This is especially difficult for small businesses, and entreprenuers. These two categories are especially concerned about wasting money on unprofitable ventures – because they don’t have money to waste.
Integrating social media – Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. (also known as Web 2.0) – into a business’s marketing strategy seems risky to many. So here’s the key question – is social media marketing worth the time, effort and money?
Well, as with many difficult questions, there is no straight-forward answer. Each business is different, and each business reaches their propespective customers in different ways. What I can tell you is that Web 2.0 style marketing is on the rise – and for good reason.
In a recent study conducted by McKinsey & Company, they noted that two-thirds of the over 3,000 executives that participated in the survey use Web 2.0 tactics in their business operations. They state this as a 40 percent increase from last year’s survey results.
The study also evaluated the benefits these organizations gained by using social media, the most important – however least of which -being increased revenue (only about 19%). Some of the top benefits included increased speed of access to knowledge (77%), increased customer satisfaction (50%), decreased communication expenses (60%), and decreased travel expenses (44%).
To give you an idea of how lucrative social media marketing can be – take a look at PepsiCo Inc. The company pulled its Super Bowl advertising campaign in 2010 to focus their energies into online marketing strategies. The company had advertised during the Super Bowl every year since 1987. The estimated cost of Super Bowl ads last year was $3 million for 30 seconds. (Source: Associated Press)
The main focus of Pepsi’s online marketing strategy was the Pepsi Refresh Project which is highly integrated into social media, boasting over 3 million likes on Facebook. In order to vote for a project for Pepsi to fund, users must connect via Facebook. The Refresh Project also utilizes Twitter and a blog to reach out to users.
There is solid evidence out there that social media marketing is growing – just try looking over the websites of some of your favorite companies, I bet you will find icons to like them on Facebook and follow their Twitter feeds.
Web 2.0 is not just a passing fad, it will likely be here to stay – in one form or another.