Before any church, non-profit or business dives into social media you have to ask yourself, why should you use social media? Obviously you need to figure out what your goal/objective is for using social media is first. I recently wrote at length about the reasons why you need to have figured that out. Social media experts will give you a long list of reasons why you should be using social media. I have narrowed it down three reasons. If these don’t convince you then I suggest you try knitting. 😉

1. Your target audience lives there

Many of the people you are trying to reach, trying to influence are actually on social media. Right now. For example 80% of mobile smart phone data traffic in the United Kingdom is from people who are on Facebook. 80%! People are more hyper-connected than they have ever been in human history.

Australians spend more time on social media than anyone else in the world. Australian’s spend nearly 7 hours each month on various social media sites with America and the United Kingdom coming a close second and third. There is a 11 million strong active audience on Facebook in Australia alone (Out of just over 22 million people). Not convinced yet?

I could bombard you with heaps of stats on this but they are changing so rapidly that they will be out of date before too long. The trend arrow is only moving one way and that is up. More people are signing up every second. Social media really is becoming the new global town square. You can shop, meet up with friends, listen to music or play games. You name it you pretty much can do it there.

For some of you this reason is like a ‘well duh?’ moment. If that is you then congratulations. You are probably a digital native and you ‘get’ it.

2. Digital word of mouth sharing

Your target audience is talking each other about the thing things they care about, who or what matters most to them. Imagine if you were part of that conversation? Word of mouth personal endorsements is the most effective form of marketing. I recently wrote about a great example what can happen when word of mouth spreads well.

While real world of mouth sharing has the highest effectiveness in marketing, digital word of mouth endorsement is a new realm that will grow in significance over time as more and more people spend longer and longer online connecting with their friends.

All brands are talkable. Just what positive or negative things your audience is saying about your brand is the most important thing. Good news travels fast. But bad news travels even faster and social networks can work for you, or against you faster than I’ve ever seen it in my life time. Here are 4 great example’s of how to trash your reputation in 24 hours and how that brand’s poor timing in follow-up on that brand’s social media channel took them even further into the depths of social media despair.

I think we forget that there are broadly speaking 4 types of people out there on the internet. Those who LOVE what you do and who you are. Those who HATE what you do, or who you are. Those who are neutral about what you do and who you are. Finally they are those who have never heard of you. Two of these groups has massive influence. Your brand advocates, those who love you, or your detractors. Each one of these two groups has the potential to influence the neutrals and those that haven’t heard of you either way.

3. Conversation

Social media isn’t a broadcast communications channel, yet many treat it like one. It’s a massive engagement opportunity. There is no place like it. You get to hear what people like, don’t like. People tend to be a lot more frank and honest online.

However you have to be present on social media. You can’t just set up your presence and forget about it. This brand did and see what happened. Disaster. The brand even commented on the post seven months later which was a breakthrough moment for them. They had finally woken up to the fact that social media is a conversation where you can talk, but you also have to listen.

What do you think? Comment below.