The term social media at first seems to be an oxymoron because the activity is solitary, and only becomes a social activity in hyperspace, however, the medium has achieved ubiquity so involves society in general and is therefore social. The term is used to describe a collection of online media that allow people with similar interests to share and it delivers huge audiences.
Not many years ago you could have described TV as a social medium; family groups or friends sat together and shared the experience, and at the shops, school or work the next day people discussed last night’s telly. On a typical evening around a third of all UK adults watched Coronation Street and TV was a great place for advertisers to reach huge numbers of people. Over the last 25 years the number of TV stations and programmes available to us has proliferated and audiences have fragmented, which means a greater number of groups of smaller numbers of people watched the same thing. This makes it harder for an advertiser to use the TV medium to reach a large number of people of a similar type or with a shared interest.
Social media has become a mass medium. The most popular platforms Facebook and Twitter have truly huge userships; however, because of the nature of the media it is easily possible to target groups of specific interests within the total number of numerous users. As the social media medium continues to grow a huge variety of platforms have launched making it possible to target within more defined groups: by geographical location, by interest, by device etc. Facebook recently topped 1.15 billion and a huge number of other social media platforms deliver over a million.
A recent article from the Daily Mail reported that British adults are the most prolific users of facebook and Twitter with almost half of us using these two while 74% of all 25 – 44 year olds use social networks.
It is definitely time to consider using social media to develop a relationship with your existing customers and to let them recommend your business to their network of friends, relatives and business contacts. We can help.
In the next article, we look at the strengths and properties of social media as a marketing proposition.