Social Media Marketing and the Neglected Middle Child (of Business)
Midmarket CEOs thought they knew everything the needed to know, until Social Media changed the face of marketing.
Each day, we conduct a very unscientific analysis of open rates for articles appearing in our “Midmarket Daily” newsletter and find that our Social Media Marketing articles tend to have the highest click-throughs of all the business features we share. Why might this be?
Well, for one thing, The Midmarket is made up of scores of very “with-it” business mavericks, who – along with their fledgling companies – have successfully shed their small business tags; moving up to a much more challenging and rewarding level of the business world’s hierarchy – the Midmarket.
Now, located somewhere between mom and pop street and corporate way, Middle Market company owners and CEOs have shown themselves to have a “findingways to make some things work versus a why it won’t work mindset.”
Growing up and “cutting their business teeth” in the small business world has taught them how to survive and thrive with many fewer resources than their big company counterparts. They have easily come to realize that Online Marketing will allow them greater targeted reach and deeper market penetration for much less money and staffing than traditional marketing might, especially these days.
Are Midmarket executives “barking up the right tree” by seeking to embrace Internet Marketing at this still formative stage of their business development? The answer may come from the A-level executives many of them aspire to become. According to a study by Retrovo, people access social media sites day and night – it’s addictive. So it’s no surprise that Fortune 100 companies have been taking full advantage of 24/7 unrestricted access to their customers and stakeholders.
Social Media engagement has certainly been growing in Corporate America as evidenced by these numbers:
§ 79% of large, Fortune 100 companies use Twitter, Facebook or corporate blogs to communicate with customers and other stakeholders § 66% of the Fortune 100 have at least one Twitter account
§ 54% have at least one Facebook fan page
Additionally, The Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth recently conducted a new in-depth and statistically valid study on the usage of social media in fast-growing corporations; many of which are indeed, Middle Market. UMASS has been surveying the Inc. 500 annually since 2007 and have seen a huge rise in Social Media Marketing among this group.
When asked if the use of social media has been successful for their business, the overwhelming response for almost every Social Media platform and tool identified is that it has been. More than 80% of these companies rated the most popular platforms and tools as successful with the exception of Foursquare (68%) and MySpace (0%). Those rated most successful are message boards/bulletin boards. Blogging is rated as successful by 92% of those who utilize this tool. All agree that Social Media Marketing is important to their business success in many ways.
So, for you few remaining “fence-sitters” still contemplating whether or not to embrace social media, here are some very basic suggestions to help you get started: do some research to get useful data on the demographics of your target audience; then, identify the appropriate social network(s) that fits the demographics you wish to go after.
Whether you are a B2C or B2B company, the key to success will be your understanding of how your target social consumers think, act and make decisions. The reason for this is quite simple, your business no longer controls its own message; your audience does. It is they – not you – who decide what they will listen to or turn away from; making it increasingly important to know them better and address them properly. If done effectively, Social Media Marketing will yield significant results for your midsize business.
Marc LeVine is founder and CEO of ICA Social Media in Freehold, New Jersey. The company helps small and midsize businesses do better and improve revenues through the addition of Social Media to their overall marketing strategies. Visit ICA Social Media on the web at www.icanewfriend.com