Big corporations, small businesses, non-profits, and even politicians are seeing the value in social media, which means that the surge in social media marketing and advertisements will only continue to increase.
According to a report from the Royal Bank of Scotland 9 out of 10 medium to large-sized businesses in the UK will maintain or spend more on their social media budget for 2012. Borrell Associates stated that the total local online social spend in the US will grow from an estimated $1.1 billion in 2011 to $7.8 billion in 2016. Also Research from The Pivot Conference and Brian Solis found that two-thirds of marketers surveyed were already conducting social media advertising activities, and 18% more planned to do so in 2012. Why should this matter to you?
This is relevant to anyone who uses social media in any capacity because they are going to get bombarded with social media advertisements. Consumer Reports stated “The average American is exposed to 247 commercial messages each day.” Advertisements will always exist just the channels that are used to broadcast the messages to us will change. These results from Nielsen show the market of Social Media: Over 80% of all Americans use a social network. Americans spend more time on Facebook than any other U.S. website and nearly 23% of online time is spent on social networks. Big corporations have already started and will continue to increase the money they spend on social media.
With this paradigm shift in marketing a lot of companies are going to approach consumers with ads, ads, and more ads. I am privileged to work for a company that does not use advertisements at all. I work for TerraCycle, an eco-friendly company that turns waste into products. Since the inception of TerraCycle not a single dollar has been spent on advertising, the company has strictly relied on PR, blogs, and social media. In this era that we live in this statement sounds absurd and unrealistic but the truth is that TeraCycle gets major coverage in media because we have a business model that depends on the people. With more than 25 million people collecting waste in 20 countries, TerraCycle has diverted billions of units of waste and used them to create over 1,500 different products. For marketers to succeed in this consumer-driven economy, they must tap into the minds of the people not by speaking AT them, but speaking WITH them!
Social media creates a 2-way channel of communication, which is virtually non-existent with other media formats like TV, radio (save for talk-radio), and even traditional (non-2.0) websites. Social media marketers should not be seen as marketers in a sense, but should adapt and socialize with those that they are trying to influence. It’s always been true that people do business with people and companies they trust.
How many times have you asked a friend for their opinion on a movie, a restaurant, a book, and so on? As humans we do this all the time and if businesses use social networks to network and become friends with those in their market they can build trust and at the end of the day this builds business. The TerraCycle brand gained massive awareness through building support the grass roots way and this is truly the best way to build lasting support and relate to the consumer as opposed to just marketing to them.