Smart Marketing Without the Big Price Tag

Nielsen’s latest Social Media Report released on Monday provides yet more evidence that any small business opportunity or franchise owner who isn’t taking advantage of social media marketing is missing a potentially incredible opportunity.  The report’s findings serve to reinforce that at no time in history has it ever been possible for business owners to reach so many people with so much information for so little money―or no money at all for that matter.  All it takes is a little know-how and some time.

According to these recent findings, a whopping 80% of active internet users in the U.S. are engaged in social networking and read blogs, all of which serves to influence their purchasing decisions at a rapidly increasing rate.  The report cites as an example the fact that 60% of people who use at least three digital options for researching products find what they buy through social networking sites and that 48% of those same consumers respond to special offers to buy products and services when they are posted on Facebook or Twitter. 

When it comes to demographics, females―who remain the principle purchasers of goods and services in many households―make up the majority of visitors to social networking sites and blogs, while 18-to-34-year-olds constitute the highest concentration among age groups.  Americans between the ages of 35 and 49 are also big users.

Representing a hugely sought after market when it comes to purchasing power, people aged 55-plus who visited social networking sites via their mobile phones did so at twice the rate this year than last.  And they’re not alone.  The mobile internet audience that is visiting social networking sites was up 62 percent last year on the whole.

Facebook remains the prevailing champ when it comes to social network preference, especially among females.  LinkedIn and Wikia are more popular among men.  African Americans are more represented on Twitter than any other social network, while female teens are more represented on Tumblr.

Speaking of Tumblr, this emerging social network can best be described as something of a blog-Twitter combo and has nearly tripled its unique U.S. audience over the past year.  In fact, it’s now the 8th largest site in the country and is growing by leaps and bounds each day due to significant word-of-mouth buzz.

A recent explosion in mobile technology coupled with the unprecedented interconnectedness of all the major social networking sites has enabled consumers to access their favorites at the touch of a button anytime, anywhere.  Moreover, when they access one site, they can easily and are oftentimes being enticed to visit yet another.  Add to that the fact that many consumers actually opt in to learn more about their favorite companies and brands, and this new communications paradigm has all the makings of any savvy small business owner’s ideal marketing strategy. 

If all of that isn’t reason enough to explore the social networking options availabe to you for marketing your own small business opportunity or franchise, consider this.  Social networks and blogs now account for almost a full quarter of the time individuals spend online, eclipsing all other online destinations combined. 

Suffice it to say, it won’t be long before the whole world, quite literally, has gone viral, so why not get ahead of the curve?  Even if you don’t actively engage social networks to market your business today, it’s a good time to start educating yourself so that as things evolve even further, you won’t be in the dark.  You will be ready.

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