If you can spare a couple of minutes of your day between checking out your colleagues on LinkedIn, uploading your latest pictures to Instagram, checking out what your friends are up to on Facebook and following your favorite Tweeter, I invite you to jump into the world of social media. Specifically, how can social media help our organizations, market our products and what does the future hold?

Here’s what we know; social media has forever shaped the way we use the internet. social media has affected marketing strategy, Google’s search algorithm and, at the very least, made it easy to reach out to long lost friends. But is it right for your organization?

Social Media Explained With Donuts Via Instagram

Generating Sales

Every organization needs sales. I’m guessing that you would benefit if more people bought what you’re selling. The question is how can social media help? Let’s look at some typical questions we field from our client base.

We’ve all heard about a video going “viral” on YouTube, but how does that happen?

  • “Online sharing, even at viral scale, takes place through many small groups, not via the single status post or tweet of a few influencers…Content goes viral when it spreads beyond a particular sphere of influence and spreads across the social web via ordinary people sharing with their friends…the median ratio of Facebook views to shares [is] merely 9-to-1. This means that for every Facebook share, only nine people visited the story. Even the largest stories on Facebook are the product of lots of intimate sharing—not one person sharing and hundreds of thousands of people clicking.” (Ad Age)

Which social media service should I use to increase sales?

This question can really only be answered once your organization uncovers where your target audience “lives” online. But consider some of the following:

  • LinkedIn is the only major social media platform for which usage rates are higher among 30- to 49-year-olds than among 18- to 29-year-olds.  (HubSpot)
  • Although Facebook is the most important social media lead generation tool for b2c marketers (with 77% saying they had acquired a customer through Facebook, compared to 60% for a company blog), among B2B companies, LinkedIn was the most effective, with 65% having acquired a customer through the professional network, followed by company blogs (60%), Facebook (43%) and Twitter (40%). (Marketing Charts)

Do we really need to use social media?

This question begs another question. What do your customers want? If they want to find you using social media or search engines and you aren’t there, they may look elsewhere. Here are a couple thoughts on this subject:

  • B2B marketers believe social media is critical to organic search success. Marketers rate social media as the second-most important factor (64%) in search, behind only strong content (82%). (BtoB Magazine)
  • social media sites and blogs reach 80% of all U.S. internet users. (Mindjumpers)