I urge you to take a moment to think about the times when there was no internet, no cell phones, no Facebook, no social networks, and no media tools. My 20-something year old friends and I would probably have a panic attack because our lives would be too hard to handle. It wouldn’t be the case for my 40-year-old uncle Joe who recently got promoted to be the Marketing Director at my grandpa’s family business, Black & Sons? Sounds like some exciting news, but poor my uncle Joe Black – he is still struggling with getting new businesses and keeping up with things changing constantly on the internet? In other words, is it true that Businesses still don’t ‘get’ social media – and it’s 40-year-old marketing directors that are to blame?
What does it mean to say that Uncle Joe doesn’t understand social media marketing? It means he hasn’t converted from traditional marketing to social media marketing. Marketing before the existence of social media involved billboards, word-of-mouth, lots of relationships and connections, and TV campaigns. Social media marketing has reversed the model as the new marketing strategy. The way business collect data and information nowadays is moving towards a much research-heavy and data-driven direction. Effective marketing is a about lots of big data and analytics, which require solid analytical and quantitative skills from marketing managers – which perhaps my Uncle Joe is missing.
Social media marketing as the new marketing is proven to be incredibly effective and appealing to the public. Companies that know how to use social media within boundaries have succeeded significantly in increasing the company’s popularity and sales. For example, Mashable listed 5 companies with inbound marketing that works and 5 Brands that understand marketing on Instagram.
The growth and cost-effectiveness of social media marketing have been proven by company’s increase in bottom lines. Social media marketing can also be used as a sales tool in both B2B and B2C markets. 45% of B2C markets and 86% of B2B find new businesses using social media. Duke Fuqua School of Business‘s statistic suggest that both B2C and B2B marketers will increase significant spending on social marketing, from 8.4% to 11.5%, and to 21.6% by 2018. In the mean time, traditional marketing is dropping below the ground level.
Social media is also used to tell stories, which makes social media such as TED and Youtube powerful tools for non-profit businesses. Stories that are told for a cause are no doubt inspiring and influencing to a wide range of audience all over the world. 70% of Youtube traffic comes form outside of the US, among 43 countries and in 60 languages.
Social Media seems like the one and only way to reach the global market. There is almost no brainer that we better get good at it. To offer some help for my Uncle Joe, and a lot of us who may find it helpful, I am posting McKinsey’s article on Six Social-media Skills Every Leader Needs.