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Where to Start With Social Media

According to Forrester research, digital marketing tools are developing at such a speed that technophobe marketers will soon be left on the shelf.

If you’re a marketer who isn’t tech-savvy, where should you start?

At the beginning.

Social media is a communications channel. The communications channel decision comes at the implementation stage of the marketing planning process. Not a decision to be made based on the fact (myth) that ‘everyone else is doing it’ but because it will contribute to the achievement of your marketing objectives.

Having said that, unless your audience profile fits the 7.1 million UK adults the Office of National Statistics reports to be non-internet users, then undoubtedly social media will be a suitable channel for your business (if not right now, then very, very soon).

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The key to getting started is your target audience. Just as you would research the most appropriate publication in which to place a printed advertisement, or to find the journalist who writes about your industry sector, you need to start by researching the social media tools that are most likely to help you reach your target audience.

Where you’ll find your target audience

Wikipedia currently lists 198 social networking sites, with a note that says ‘this list is not exhaustive and is limited to notable, well-known sites’!

In terms of user statistics, the following social sites are currently the most popular:

YouTube

  • Over 800 million unique user visits each month
  • 6 billion hours of videos watched every month

Facebook

  • Daily active users have reached 665 million; monthly active users have passed 1.1 billion
  • One out of every seven minutes spent online is spent on Facebook

Twitter

  • Over 500 million registered accounts
  • 288 million monthly active users (10+ million in the UK)

Google+

  • 359 million monthly active users
  • 135 million actively posting to Google Plus pages

LinkedIn

  • Over 200 million users (10+ million in the UK)
  • More than one million groups on LinkedIn

Instagram

  • 130 million monthly active users
  • 45 million photos per day

Pinterest

  • Over 25 million registered users (200,000+ in the UK)
  • Average user spends 98 minutes per month on the site

Does that help? A little bit?!

It’s important to remember that each social media tool has its own defined purpose and an associated user demographic profile (Mintel’s latest social networking report includes statistics for March 2013).

It’s all about content

Now revisit your marketing strategy and examine the content you plan to produce to meet your marketing objectives.

Do you want to drive traffic to content on your own website, via links? LinkedIn and Twitter are perfect for sharing. YouTube is your best option for video content, and don’t overlook Pinterest, which is largely used for collecting and organising images.

Ultimately, unless you have unlimited resources, focus on two or three tools, and use them really well.

Continue to monitor the marketplace, research your target audience and adapt your marketing plans accordingly.

What are you waiting for?

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