Although it's a somewhat heavy-handed beat down on those lacking the facts, Twidiots: The Fact and Fiction of Social Media Demographics by Augie Ray at Social Media Today provides some insightful stats on who/where your audience is.
Prior to finalizing your social media strategy you need to figure out two things – who is your audience and what goals does your organization have. Let’s focus on the first question – who are we talking to, hoping to reach and communicate with. Once that is established you can figure out where they are.
Some of the stats may surprise you. For instance, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project
the median age of Twitter users is 31, not 13.
Ray also points out that a Netpop study found that time spent social networking has increased 93 percent since 2006; while television usage has not experienced such growth. They estimate that around a third of U.S. Internet users' online time is spent connecting. Ray also includes an insightful quote from Benjamin Palmer from the article Why So Shy? Helping Brands with Social Media Anxiety
as it appeared April 2009 on Adweek.com:
"Thousands of brands from large, medium and small companies... crossed that hurdle a few years ago of making a Web site. But they are not yet waking up to the fact that the Internet is not just about parking your information somewhere and hoping people stumble across it somehow. You have to be active for anyone to notice.... Companies obviously know Twitter and blogs and Facebook. They just don't know how they fit in. "
There are actually two obstacles that seem to be stopping most organizations from enjoying success in an online community
Ray does a great job illustrating the first -- some people are using the wrong facts. If you are quoting industry experts from end of 2008, you and I are not talking the same language. Social Media statistics change with lightening speed so numbers from six months ago are as bad as milk from the same date. Throw them away. Do not consume!
The second reason organizations seem hesitant to launch a campaign is the lack of no-how, as illustrated in the quote from Adweek.com. This is no longer an excuse either. There are multiple companies out there willing to help guide you into a perfect fit for your company or organization. But what you need to keep in mind, especially if you are a little nervous about the prospect of embracing social media/marketing, is the question will this solution grow with me? Will you be upgrading in a few years as your business needs or technology changes?
If you see this happening, don't put off a foray into social networking, just make sure that you select a company that can help you now and in the future. Go with one that has a track record. Work with someone who will not charge you for upgrades, enhancements or redesigns. Join up with a partner who is willing to make your education part of the package; one that will include unlimited training and customer service.
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