In the buyer driven atmosphere of 2011, B2B marketing can’t ignore social media. For the last decade, the net has been morphing into one huge social community with niches of interest breaking off and creating their own networking sites.
Such online channels can’t be overlooked. The comScore 2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review tells us that 9 out of every 10 U.S. Internet users now visit a social network each month, with the average visitor spending more than 4 hours monthly.
No wonder, in 2011, U.S. marketers will spend $3.08 billion advertising dollars on social networking websites (According to new estimates from eMarketer.)
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To spend your marketing dollars most efficiently, you need to find the sites your target market frequents.
Check out some of these offerings to see where your target audience might be hanging out.
The Obvious Ones:
Facebook: The granddaddy of them all. In 2011, Facebook has 500,000,000 active users. Nearly 72% of Facebook users are in the U.S.; the fastest growing population of users falls in the 18-34 range.
LinkedIn: Typically regarded as the most business-centric social network. To gauge the saturation of your target audience in this network, start by searching for titles / groups.
Twitter: The premier microblogging website is a hot social messaging platform and one of the top social networks. Twitter also offers news, trends, social buzz, and communal chatting. Twitter is also a valuable network to leverage in understanding brand mentions and monitoring brand reputation.
Ning: A platform for creating social networks, Ning allows users to build their own unique social destination, customizing every element from profile questions to design choices.
Digg: The most popular social news site named for the ability of users to ‘digg’ articles they agree with and ‘bury’ articles they don’t. Viewers can read articles on nearly any topic.
Niches To Note:
iliketotallyloveit: Helps users discover new products and share favorites.
ThisNext: Lets users recommend, share, and find the newest cool products.
Kaboodle: Puts users in touch with new items from similar shoppers and provides for product recommendations.
Broadcaster: Allows people to upload their own video clips, participate in video chats and distribute video e-mails.
Care2: Centered on green living, offers such elements as email, blogging and shopping.
Dodgeball: Aimed at mobile users, Dodgeball integrates with mobile devices to send text messages alerting folks to your status online.
There is no shortage of sites that translate into endless chances to connect with your ideal target audience in an effort to build a relationship. Understanding the nuances and behaviors typical to each site will enable you to connect with your target audience in the most meaningful way. Doing so will help you create a marketing strategy that catches more qualified leads for your sales funnel.
Excited to get started with some new social networks? Before you do, check out this great infographic about Facebook Failures by Wordstream!