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If you’ve given any thought to growing your business through social media, you’ve likely been stalled by the question – “but will using [Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram] actually help me market or sell my [product, service, book]?”

I hear this from clients a lot.

The short answer?  Yes.

It’s difficult for business owners to wrap their mind around using something they may not actually use themselves.  But here’s the thing.  Our world is saturated with marketing, so much so that we often don’t notice the marketing tools as we go about our day to day.  The food samples as we graze through our grocery shopping.  The “sponsored by” notices that float through our comings and goings in public places.  The occasional fly-by – those planes with the banner trailing along behind them.  I love those, sign of summer to me (that gives away my Gen-X perspective on the world doesn’t it!).

The point, of course, is that we’ve come to take traditional marketing for granted.  Many of us are actually watching less TV these days, or less network and cable-based TV, and if you’re like me, binge watching a season of House of Cards on Netflix doesn’t count (once I’m done, I’m done).  Our viewing habits have changed.  Still, you don’t hear brands and advertisers saying “no one watches TV anymore, let’s stop running commercials.”  On the contrary, they’ve simply adapted the mode in which we receive commercials (Hulu has commercials, Comcast On-Demand is chocked full of them).

I think of commercials when I hear a business owner say “Social media? I don’t get it and no one I know really cares about it anyway.”  Does anyone really care about commercials?  And yet, they still work.

How Many Ways Can You Say Huge?

Facebook has over one and half billion active users.  1.5 billion.  One point five.  Billion.  (Just trying to let that sink in…).

That’s a lot of people, eh?  If you have a business with more than say 1 customer, I’m willing to wager that at least half of your customers use Facebook.  And if you’re in the English speaking world, it’s likely more than that!

By the way, not surprisingly, What’s App (also owned by Facebook) and Facebook messenger are also in the range of over a billion users.

Can you afford NOT to market on Facebook?  I don’t think so.

Other big players in the world of social networking apps?  Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter (in that order), all at or just under half a billion active users.  Pinterest and LinkedIn come in at 100 million active users each, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at!

And keep this in mind, there are dozens (hundreds?) of smaller, targeted platforms with social networking capabilities (think Meetup) that offer businesses a wealth of opportunities to niche their marketing efforts.  Last.fm, the popular music sharing app, has 21 million active users.  That may seem like small potatoes compared to the bigger platforms, but if you’re an indie band looking to grow your audience – that is a great place to start!

Targeted marketing has become so much easier.  Take full advantage of that.

So back to your product (or service, or widget).  What can social media do for you?  Well, for starters, you can connect with people who otherwise wouldn’t take your (cold) call.  You can create a platform (content, your portfolio, a site that showcases your business) that you can share with the world.  Literally.  And often for free.  Sidebar: Facebook’s organic reach is not what it used to be, and effective use of Facebook for your business will require you to run Facebook ads.

Beyond just marketing a product, social media allows you to really get creative in sharing your company’s goals, events, and successes.  It’s all about creating “fans” doncha know.

If you’re really not convinced, and you truly don’t use social media yourself (not sure I’ll believe that, but ok), then ask 10 of your neighbors and friends if they use social media.  They may not admit it, but when John Next Door mentions he saw his California niece’s graduation photos, and you both live in Ohio, ask him where he saw those pictures.  I think we all know the answer to that.

Social media matters.  Your business needs it.  And if sales and growth matter to you, you’ll work on integrating it into your day-to-day strategy.

Notice what I said there?

Day.  To.  Day.

Not once in a blue moon.  Not once or twice a season.  Not once a month, or even once a week. But daily.  That’s the only way it works.  Period.

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