More and more companies are working social media marketing into their integrated marketing plans. Social media marketing is the practice of using social media destinations like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google Plus, Youtube and more to advertise. Companies can use various tactics in their approach to social media marketing. It can be as simple as having a Facebook page that customers "Like" or as complex as a multi-tiered campaign using viral video on Youtube, drawing attention to it through Tweets and offering prizes to Facebook fans for making popular comments. Regardless of the approach, companies worldwide are recognizing social media networks' massive user base and are shaping their marketing plans accordingly.
Facebook wasn't the first social networking site, but they are the first to have achieved such an enormous worldwide user base. Facebook surpassed competitor MySpace in the Fall of 2008 to become the world's leading social networking site. Facebook now has 800 million users worldwide and they estimate that, on any given day, 400 million log in and spend time on their site. That's a larger audience than the top TV shows in the U.S. It's no wonder so many companies are dedicating more time to social media marketing.
While Facebook is number one, its competitors aren't doing poorly. Micro-blogging site Twitter boasts 200 million users and growing. Despite going public just two months ago, Google's Facebook competitor Google Plus is rapidly approaching the 50 million user mark. Linkedin, which focuses more on business networking instead of friends and fun, passed 100 million earlier this year. Youtube is another social networking juggernaut that businesses can use to get their messages to the public. And they should, since Youtube averages 3 billion video views daily - a 50% increase over last year. These are just five of the various social media sites and the numbers don't lie. The sheer number of daily social media clicks rivals and even outnumbers daily users of traditional media, so businesses now find themselves paying more attention to their social marking strategies.
A 2009 study by The Aberdeen Group revealed that 63% of corporate marketing departments planned to increase the funds budgeted to social media marketing. In the ensuing two years, this number has grown. Companies have had time to learn the ins and outs of social marketing and incorporate it into their overall marketing plans. Worldwide, companies spent two billion dollars on social networking in 2008. That number increased to almost three billion in 2011.
The Aberdeen Group's study noted steady ten percent social marketing spending increases every year from 2008 (two billion dollars), through 2009 and 2010 (2.35 and 2.6 billion, respectively) and in 2011 (2.87 billion dollars). If these ten percent increases continue, companies worldwide will dedicate $3.5 billion to social media marketing. It's being predicted in some circles that this ten percent estimate is conservative and that social marketing expenditures will grow as social media itself grows and gains further widespread acceptance.
This statistic is telling: Internet users spend one out of every six online minutes on social networking sites. As social media and content delivery converge, including the ability to watch movies on Facebook, this number will grow until the majority of online time is spent on social networking sites. More people listen to music on Youtube than they do on the radio, while Hulu and Netflix are taking the audience away from traditional television viewing. Social media marketing is already quite important and soon it will be absolutely vital to any company who wishes to use their marketing funds effectively.
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