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Do you have Twitter or Facebook? Have you signed up on Google+ or LinkedIn? Are you fond of visiting YouTube? You’re not alone.

For the general online user population, Twitter is the number one social media tool; it accounts for about 86 percent of all social media users. Ranking in second place is the blogosphere (blogs as a general category), which is closely followed by LinkedIn and Facebook. Blogs, LinkedIn, and Facebook account for 79, 78, and 77 percent, respectively.

YouTube and other video websites make up 41 percent, social bookmarking websites comprise 38 percent, and websites like Digg, Mixx, and Reddit represent 26 percent.

Businesses and marketers also love using social media— over 93 percent of marketers use this online platform for business purposes.

Social Media for Businesses and Marketers

The top three social media websites commonly used by marketers and businesses are Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. An estimated 70 percent of brands that established their presence on Google+ experienced growth by 4 percent. Also, 70 percent of marketers also rely on Facebook to promote their brand, increase awareness of their products or services, and successfully get new customers. As for Twitter, about 34 percent of marketers use this social media outlet to generate more leads.

While these websites are popular among teens, Tumblr and Flickr are among the least popular social media outlets among marketers and business.

Around 34 percent of businesses that use social media are doing it to increase their brand’s awareness while 25 percent utilize this as a platform to expand their network. An estimated 20 percent of companies that seek to drive traffic to their websites use social media while 9 percent deem it as a sales-generating implement.

Social Media for Small Business Owners

Also, it is not just big businesses that are employing social media marketing as a marketing tool. Small business owners are also taking advantage of these online platforms to spread the word about their brand and their products or services.

Around 85 percent of small businesses use social media to increase their business network; 48 percent to keep in touch with friends, and 14 percent to promote a political advocacy.

LinkedIn is the most popular social media outlet used by small businesses; this accounts for about 57 percent. Around 50 percent of small businesses also look to Facebook while 26 percent account as Twitter users. Approximately 24 percent of these small business owners signed up for Google+ while YouTube users account 19 percent. However, about 27 percent of them do not use social media.

The Evolution of Social Media as a Marketing Tool

Looking at these statistics, it is apparent that businesses and marketers are increasingly relying on social media websites. The present trend is that consumers are more likely to buy from a company that has a strong online presence; their final decision point is established even before they get to speak with a salesperson.

In response to this consumer trend, businesses and marketers are producing a wide range of content, and at increasing amounts, aimed at convincing the consumers to arrive at a decision point, which is to buy.

Despite the change of venue, which is online, the sales model remains the same; that is, to maximize the use of all available platforms to be found online by consumers.

Did you know around 72 percent of business marketers believe branded content online is more effective at spreading brand awareness than advertising in magazines and print media? Also, 69 percent of them also think branded content is better than direct mail and PR marketing.

On the part of the consumers, close to 50 percent look to website design as their primary criterion for judging a company’s credibility. For this reason, a little over 70 percent of companies are increasing their efforts and budget in digital marketing; this budget increase reaches up to 27 percent.

Around 67 percent of business markets also think the increase in sales is directly due to efforts in digital marketing. In 2015 it is expected that online advertising will comprise 25 percent of the total advertising market.

Millennials largely dominated the current consumer segment, or those born between the years 1981 and 2000. At present, Millennials make up 27 percent of the total U.S. population; that is about 76 million people.

Approximately 63 percent of millennials get updates on brands through social media websites. Around 51 percent say their purchasing decisions are influenced by social opinions while 46 percent rely on social media when they engage in online buying.

Overall, more than 70 percent of the adult population in the U.S. who are online are exposed to social media networking. With this far-reaching extent, it is no surprise that many businesses have dedicated their advertising and marketing campaigns through social media.

Benefits of Using Social Media as a Marketing Platform

Social media may seem like a temporary trend, but it is a powerful force that one must take advantage of. This system allows businesses to increase their brand’s recognition. With increased visibility over the Internet, it makes businesses more accessible for new customers.

Improving brand loyalty is another benefit of social media because it allows companies to constantly connect with their audience. In using a carefully planned strategy, businesses can morph casual consumers into loyal followers.

Social media marketing also increases inbound traffic to business websites. Every content posted on these networking sites offers opportunities of having new visitors. And with more Web traffic means more sales leads and conversions. Another great thing about social media marketing is that it is relatively cheaper compared to conventional modes of advertising.

When done right, social media can draw in more customers, which can lead to potential sales.

If you want to get started with social media marketing but are not sure what to do or where to begin, get in touch with FirstPage Impact.