More Evidence that Social Media is Critical to Online Business Strategy

corporate business social media marketingI help companies map out their Internet marketing strategies and one component is often the use of social media.  A common response is that their customers do not use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  I often argue this point, given the growing numbers and expanding demographics of those using social media.

Currently, three quarters of Internet users worldwide visit a social network or blog when they go online — that’s a 24% increase over last year.

Joe Average (the international version) spends 66% more time on these sites than he did a year ago — for example, your average user spent 6 hours on these sites in April 2010, while last year he spent 3 hours, 31 minutes.

Facebook, YouTube and Wikipedia make an appearance among the world’s most popular brands.

via How the World Is Spending Its Time Online [STATS]

If your company is considering social media as a tool to reach your market online, engage with existing customers, or expand your brand to connect with new prospects, I recommend you get started with three platforms: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Facebook is the leading online social network with over 500M users.  Facebook Pages are a great way for a business to leverage this volume.  Pages can be custom branded to fit within your other online assets and provide an excellent channel to offer a new communications channel to your online community.

Twitter is the leading microblogging platform.  Currently Google indexes Twitter content into their “Updates” results and it’s believe to provide future value in how search engines determine webpage rank. In other words, if you’re engaged with customers on Twitter, it’s an indication that your website has value and may have some level of influence over others.  There certainly are a number of tracking tools that indicate this is directionally true.

YouTube is owned by Google and is the leading online video sharing site.  It provides companies with the opportunity to engage with customers using video rather than static text and images.  Statistics suggest that video is more engaging and website visitor retention rates are higher when video is present.  Video doesn’t need to be a high production excercise and I recommend you take a more casual, conversational approach with video when using it to speak directly to your customers.

Not convinced yet that social media is right for your company?  What’s holding you back?

Please leave a comment below or on Twitter @steinarknutsen.