Social Media – Rats in a Barrel?

With Facebook centre stage in the pages of the City Press- right now for the wrong reasons as the share price is falling – it is tempting to say that the influence of Social Media for business has reached a peak. But huge as it is, Facebook is only a fraction of the Internet population that is using Social Media.  It is estimated that at least 70% of the Internet population is using Social Media.  In the UK, Facebook is the only Social Media used by around 50% of those using Social Media and the average Facebook session lasts 37 minutes.  So of course, it is important to try to engage your potential customers through Facebook- but what about the other 50% of users? Perhaps for your particular business, Facebook just is not the appropriate way to engage or even advertise your business? Many niche businesses would be better off engaging potential customers through smaller more focused Social Networks.

Google+ can hardly be considered to be niche with 60 million+ accounts, but compared to Facebook with 800m, it is small beer. But it could be a more business focused audience or it could be that Google +users are more ready to engage in a real dialogue that ultimately leads to a sale?  The way to find out is to start using Social Media monitoring tools to find out what is happening and who is talking about your brand or industry.  Social Media Mention is one of my favourites as it is free and easy to use, but something like Radian6 is a better option for businesses serious about attacking the Social Media niches that their competitors will have missed.

It s estimated that 36% of users have posted something about brands on Social Media networks.  Whether you are a large national chain brand or a local supplier, there is a very good chance that someone is writing about your business right now.  It is easy just to plug your name into each of the Social Media networks in turn to find out, but the listening tools mentioned above are so easy to use, that there is really no excuse for not replying to a comment about your brand.  Even today, only about 15% of Social Media users have been contacted by a brand after posting something negative about that brand.  In other words 85% of all negative comments go unanswered by that brand.  If you did one thing today to get more business, wouldn’t it be to tune into your competitor’s brand on Social Media and watch for unanswered negative comments- then step in with a solution?  Proverbial, Rats in a Barrel?  Or would you rather continue cold calling new prospects?  Of course, you better make sure you deal with your own first!

When you add to this that 79% of users will then pass on a negative comment or experience about your company and 82% will stop doing business with your company after a bad experience, you can easily see how important it is to deal with these detractors. On the other hand, by using Social Media monitoring tools you can also capture the positive things that people might say about your brand.  So there really is no excuse – and there really is every incentive, to dig into these statistics and make sure that Social Media is working for your company – not against it!