social network ad spend As I mentioned in my previous post earlier this week, online ad spending in the UK is far and away the largest per user spend of any country in the world. 

Advertisers, especially small and medium sized businesses, need to start thinking about alternative advertising channels in order to stay competitive without burning through their marketing budget.  Inbound Marketing offers a great alternative to traditional advertising methods.  Inbound Marketing levels the playing field by rewarding quality of content instead of size of marketing budget.  Another area that small and medium sized businesses can utilize in order to stay ahead of their competition is social media.  

social media advertising eMarketer just released a comprehensive report on the state of social network advertising and the findings are pretty interesting.  It's no surprise that social media advertising is predicted to grow at a rate of about 45% over the next two years .  What I did find surprising was that social network ad spending is currently only 3% of total ad spending and that this number is only expected to grow to 6% in 2012.  What this says to me is that social media marketing is a huge opportunity for businesses looking to increase their online presence in the near future.  Once again, the time is now and below I've listed a few ways you can start to take advantage of this.  

Optimize for Mobile

In the UK among users aged 16-24 20% of social networking time was spend on a mobile device and this number is growing.  As the sharing of media becomes easier and easier on mobile devices it is essential that your content is presented in a way so that when it is shared it can be easily consumed. 

Establish Trust With Your Audience

trust by channel In 2010 most consumers were pretty skeptical of information published on social networks with only 19% saying the medium was completely or very trustworthy .  According to a poll by the Ipsos Marketing’s Consumer Goods team, consumers were more likely to visit a company's website than become a Facebook fan or follow a company on Twitter.  However, when looking to connect with other customers or share opinions Facebook was the preferred method.  How do you take advantage of this?   Use social media to communicate with your loyal following and let them be evangelists for your company.  Listen to the feedback your getting and respond to customer requests, so that when a new visitor comes to your Facebook page they are confronted with glowing recommendations from your existing customers.  

Engage With Your Followers

In a IAB UK study of the 7.7% of respondents who said they had complained about a brand on a social network or forum only 40% received a quick response .  However, of the complainers that did receive responses 78% said they were pleased with the replies , so make sure you respond to those complaints!  

Keep Creating Great Content

Further research showed that even though Facebook and Youtube were popular sites only a third of the online population used both .  As mentioned in this post , utilizing two channels such as video with social media can create a synergy that can often result in increased adoption and an overall success.  With the ease of multimedia production these days, video offers another great method for driving engagement.  Bruce Daisley, head of YouTube and display at Google UK had this to say about video and engagement:  

“More brands are trying to work out how to drive their social strategies, and this research shows the complementary roles the two sites can take. Key findings are that brands advertising on YouTube and Facebook benefit from the attributes of each, while content is the driving force for whether users share or ‘like’ a brand.”

Once again this reinforces the idea that content is the driving factor for a lot of a websites traffic.  The key takeaway from this quote is that "content is the driving force."  Whether it's a video, a blog post, an audio clip, or an online game, remarkable content is going to be what gets shared.  

I hope that some of these tips were helpful in helping you to understand the importance of social media in regards to the future of online marketing and getting started with your social media marketing strategy. 


Originally published Jan 21, 2011 3:00:00 AM, updated June 10 2021

Topics:

Inbound Marketing Social Media Free Marketing Software