Reach increases exponentially
In July of 2010, Mashable stated that Facebook had more than 500,000 users. While it may be true that not all of these users log in on a daily basis, the potential for missing customers is substantial for a business who does not have a Facebook presence. While many users of Facebook are students communicating with other students, the business community has embraced Facebook as a viable option for reaching customers. In January of 2009, Media Bistro reported more than one half a million retailers were using Facebook. Retailers who are not already competing on Facebook may find that they have missed out on this market.
Reports released by the Edison Research Group indicate that United States users of Twitters grew 1% from 2009 to 2010. While this may be a modest increase, the actual number of US users stands at 20 million users. Another study by the same company indicated that "...frequent social networkers posting more status updates, they are also more likely to follow brands/companies than the average social media user - which makes identifying and appealing to those with the "social habit" crucial for brands..." making social networking something that most business owners cannot afford to ignore.
Inbound marketing versus outbound marketing
Hubspot reports that more business owners are beginning to feel that inbound marketing efforts are more effective than outbound marketing methods. In many cases, these business owners are actually taking proactive steps to ensure that they are involved in the social media craze that has swept the business world. This is even more prevalent for a small business than a large business.
All encompassing social media strategy
While some may feel that the be all and end all of social media is Facebook and Twitter, it is important to keep in mind that there should be a multi-faceted approach to online marketing. In order to effectively reach an audience on any social site, there must be information worth sharing. In general, this means that companies are going out of their way to provide updated information via blogs and websites. This focus on providing quality content is helping many companies become more relevant in search engine ratings.
In a business climate where having a strong online presence is growing in importance and companies are interested in managing their advertising budgets, ignoring social media could be a death blow. When competition for the consumer dollar is fiercer than ever, those who ignore this viable business tool could find themselves becoming increasingly irrelevant in a global and in local marketplaces.
Image credit: By GoogLiction (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons