It's that time of year...
No, not the day we set our clocks back an hour. (Although on a personal note, that's our favorite holiday. ;) The big man in red never brought us an extra hour of sleep.)
It's time for holiday shopping.
And you know what that means...
Black Friday, the day when millions of adventurous souls become a teeming mass of bargain-seeking humanity at the stores.
(Not us. Nuh-uh. We don't go near the malls on that day. We don't even go to the grocery store if we can help it. If the cat runs out of milk on that day, it can drink maple syrup for all we care. Just sayin'.)
But it's not just about Black Friday anymore. There's also Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year. And with the rise of mobile technology, a bit of blending is expected to happen. Black Friday shoppers will be using mobile devices to compare and even buy while in stores.
(This year, some retailers are also pushing Super Saturday on December 24. Really? Another shopping circus on the day we procrastinators busy, busy social media folks actually get around to going?)
From MediaPost, Nielsen (NM Incite) reports that between 2009 and 2010, internet buzz about Black Friday and Cyber Monday rose significantly. (No mention of Super Saturday. And that's fine... we're not going to encourage them.)
The buzz about Black Friday increased by 25%. For Cyber Monday, the figures rose by 75%. When you factor in the growth of social media and mobile technology, we can probably expect larger figures for both in 2011.
And retailers are ready.
According to the Retail Finance Outlook, nearly 60% of businesses surveyed are shifting funds from traditional marketing channels to new media, including Facebook and Twitter.
So if you hope to increase your own business this holiday shopping season, you're going to want to integrate your social media efforts. (Or start them, if you're still holding out.) Sixty percent of your competition (not to mention millions of mobile-connected customers) will be.
And if you're one of the brave folks heading out this Friday, list in hand, take your mobile!
(Oh... and pick us up some milk, would ya? Doesn't seem like the cat really digs maple syrup all that much. Yeesh.)
Well, you could just about file this under "D" for "DUH"...
Some new surveys show an increased role for the internet (and, by extension, social media) in the holiday shopping season.
The National Retail Federation reports that 52.6% of smartphone users (and over 70% of tablet users!) plan to use their device to research products, redeem coupons and make purchases this year.
We suppose this is news...
...to anyone who doesn't read our blog. ;)
We shared a comScore survey back before Halloween. (You know... about the time the malls are busting out the tinsel and Christmas music.) That study found that over 40 million mobile users read social media posts from organizations, brands and events.
We also told you - waaay back in September - that moms (the fastest-growing smartphone demographic, AND the primary decision makers for most household purchases) are also likely to turn to social media in their shopping. 95.7% follow companies to learn about discounts and new products.
Now, if that's the case in fall before 60-odd percent of people even begin their holiday shopping, why wouldn't it be the case as the shopping season cranks up?
We suppose it is news... to the folks not wise enough to get their info from us. ;)
For those of you with better judgement... just file it under "D", and carry on.
We plan to. While we're doin' the happy dance around the desk again.
Being right just never gets old... ;)
More small businesses are using social media marketing than ever before.
So... what are YOU waiting for?
A recent study by Constant Contact reveals some interesing findings. In the six months between their spring and fall "Attitudes and Outlooks" surveys, they found an 8% increase in the number of small businesses using social media.
What's more, not only are small businesses more aware of - and active on - social networks, but their outlook toward it is also improving. More businesses now say that social media:
- Is easy to use
- Doesn't take much time
- Works with their customers
- Is low cost
And while Facebook is most popular, with an incredible 96% of small businesses using the platform (and 86% calling it "effective"!), there was increased use for nearly every type of social media network.
Now, we realize not everyone is susceptible to peer pressure. And we suppose if you're still dead set against social media for your business, this isn't going to convince you...
But it should.
Whether all the cool kids are doin' it or not (they are), 81% of your competition is.
Gimme a break.
Whenever you're talking about social media from a business perspective, eventually the question comes up -- How do you measure Return on Investment (ROI)?
We've addressed this before... and today we were happy to see the folks at Mashable offer a piece on the subject:
What’s the ROI of social media? That’s the million-dollar question that every marketer and brand manager would like to answer — and yet, we still can’t do it.
Hey... that's what we said! ;)
There is no formula to accurately measure the ROI of social media. Period.
And yes... we're aware of the self-proclaimed "Social Media Scientists (!)" who claim they have discovered the secret formula we just told you doesn't exist.
(Of course, if you have a look, you'll see they seem most interested in hawking their books... we don't have a book to sell ya. We're just trying to share information. You're welcome!)
But back on point, why can't we measure social media ROI?
Because just being on social media and collecting followers isn't a marketing effort. From Mashable:
Marketers often want to “be on Twitter,” but don’t consider that it’s actually a communications tool and that consistent action must be taken to engage a following.
Thomas compared measuring social media ROI to the task of calculating the ROI of a business card. Conference attendees rack up hundreds of business cards, but how do you calculate the ROI of all of the business cards that you hand out at a conference?
We like that comparison. It's like we mentioned before -- you can't measure the ROI of sponsoring a youth sports team... or charitable work... or many of the ways businesses have traditionally given back to their communities.
Social media is another way to engage members of your (extended) community. You can't measure the value of sponsoring that baseball team... or organizing donations to a food bank... or passing out your business cards. The value of those activities may be intangible, but it's real.
And the ROI of social media may be elusive... but it's just as real.