Now that social media has been part of our daily lives for nearly a decade, managing the discipline for business is now imperative for any successful marketing plan. Engagement with customers vis-a-vis social networks is the preferred method of interaction in today’s Web 2.0 milieu.

 

Push vs. pull marketing

No longer are clients only interested in having a brand’s advertising pushed out to them. In addition to push marketing, they want a say in the products they choose to purchase; this is described as pull marketing.

The new paradigm offers companies a platform to interact with existing and potential customers where they can now receive real-time constructive feedback and even new ideas from the people they sell to.

 

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for business

Today, integrating one’s business website with Facebook has never been easier. The benefits are of significant consequence. About 50% of Facebook users check their profile every day, and 23% do it five times or more!

These numbers add up when you realize that this one social network is the largest in the world: it has more than 1.1 billion followers. This increases your opportunity to expose your brand to existing and prospective followers, through creative content and interaction.

According to Hannah Kuchler at Ft.com small business use of social media has increased this year. Facebook is said to have 37 percent share, which is 23 percent more than the year before, according to the American Express Open Small Business Monitor.

Additionally, the number of small businesses on LinkedIn and Twitter have increased more than 50 percent, though from a much lower base.

HubSpot research found that LinkedIn was 277% more effective for lead generation than Facebook and Twitter. That makes sense, since LinkedIn has more than 200 million professionals, with 4 million of those focused on IT.

 

Niche social networks

“When you realize there’s a world of social networks outside of Facebook, there’s a period where you’ll want to check as many of them out as you can,” notes Entity Creative SEO expert Britt Desbien. “Chances are you’ll do a quick Google search for your organization’s industry and ‘social network’ and sign up for the sites that come up. For a while, you might even start using them regularly,” he adds.

 

Going forward …

The short history of social media in business has already been so eventful, it’s fairly clear that 2014 will be another ground-breaking year for other social networks to evolve and expand beyond desktops to mobiles and other hand-held devices.

This will prompt businesses to turn to Instagram and YouTube more than they did in the past, to engage with customers using those social networks’ photo and video functionality.