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Social Media. Ah, that thing that Gen X hoped would be a fad that would eventually disappear into the abyss. Well, you know they say: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. And that’s exactly what most of world’s populace with access to the interwebs has done. Today, there are roughly 2.34 billion social network users worldwide, meaning that everyone from your grandma to a featherless cockatiel named Rhea are on social media. When g-ma posts Sunday dinner selfies on Facebook and a featherless bird gets 286K Instagram followers, it’s officially time to accept the fact that social media is here for the long haul.

Now, I know that when a good chunk of people hear the words ‘social media’, they think selfies, belfies, funny cat videos, and Snapchat puppy filters. For some of us, this content isn’t exactly our cup of tea. Okay, well, the funny cat videos are pretty cool. I mean, c’mon, cats are freakin’ adorable! Anyways, as I was saying, don’t let mindless memes and filters fool you into thinking that social media isn’t for you and your business. Social media is no longer just for those youngsters it’s for everyone, and the sooner you realize this, the sooner you can start using social media for your business’ benefit.

 

Here are 4 reasons why your business needs social media marketing.

 

1. It’s Cannibalizing Traditional Marketing

 

Although this one should be mind-numbingly obvious, there are tons of business owners who refuse to wake up and smell the social media coffee beans. This always happens. History repeats itself. Business owners and their marketers alike create a marketing strategy that is highly effective using traditional marketing mediums such as radio and print ads. Then, they fall in love with it and are unwilling to change their methods. Guys, you need to change your marketing strategies as the marketing mediums change. While there are always going to be some people (ahem, laggers, ahem) who will catch a glimpse of your magazine ad, the other 80% of your potential clients will be scrolling through their Facebook feed, opting in to buy your competitor’s services.

A decade ago, most of you could have rightfully claimed that your target customers were too old to be on social media. Well, times have changed. A quick look throughout history should bring any remaining feelings of shock to a halting screech. Radio leached away the audience from print, TV encroached on the audience for radio, and the internet obliterated most of the audience from all three of these platforms. Stop being a snob and just get your butt on Twitter already!

 

2. It’s Got Your Audience’s Attention

 

Guys, from the perspective of any sane, rational person, social media is dangerous. People are crossing the street Snapchatting, taking group photos at red lights, and pinning on Pinterest while checking out at the grocery store. People are literally on social media all day long, and mobile is becoming more prevalent while the desktop slowly dies. Since everyone’s faces are in their phones, they are missing your front page ad in the newspaper while crossing the street. They’re missing your billboard ad while at a red light. And they’re missing your strategically placed brand endcaps at the end of aisle 7 in the grocery store.

There’s really no competition here for attention. Social media has already won the match, so it’s beyond counterproductive (and expensive) to buy ad space using a medium that nobody cares about anymore. Stop overpaying for diminishing returns!

 

3. It’s Quantifiable

 

While the same can be said about traditional and digital marketing to a certain degree, social media marketing greatly outperforms both in regards to real-time feedback. As with anything new, you are going to have to learn the ins and outs of each social media platform because, let me tell you, each one speaks its own unique language. If you think you can treat every platform the same, you’re sadly mistaken. Nonetheless, the great thing about all social media platforms today such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and even Pinterest, is that they all possess analytical data-driven tools which give you the power to measure various types of interactions between your content and your audience. How useful is that?! Social media platforms allow you and your brand to test and retest, with accurate scientific precision, what content truly connects and resonates with your audience and which content connects like a limp-fish handshake.

Using the infamous metaphor in Gary Vaynerchuk’s Best-Seller Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, ignoring the deep analytics that are available to you via social media is equivalent to stepping out into a boxing ring without any knowledge of your opponent’s technique. Don’t be ignorant. Know your numbers.

 

4. It’s Real

 

Thanks to social media, you can connect with anybody in any corner of the world. I mean, you can literally tweet the pope right now. With that said, connecting with your audience has never been quicker and more authentic than it is today. With traditional marketing, businesses slammed their audiences with countless hard sells as rapidly and as frequently as possible. “Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity!” and “60% off today only!” punches were all you’d see and hear via radio, television, print, and even the internet. Now, however, the game has changed. Today, your audience requires a lot more of your time and effort. Oh, it’s realer alright, but that doesn’t mean it’s easier. If anything, the game’s become a lot more complex. So, buckle up! Your consumers want to express their concerns, opinions, and suggestions. They want you to hear their voice. Equally so, they want you to speak to them and tell them your story, meaning you need to sell your story like never before.

Social media gives you the opportunity to build one-on-one relationships with your consumers by engaging with them and giving them valuable content sans the cheap sales pitches. It not only gives you the opportunity, but it demands it. Like any good story, if there isn’t any enticing exposition action in the beginning, the climax won’t hold any punch. If you’re honest, genuinely care about people, and become fluent in each platform’s language, you’ll create real, loyal relationships that continually reap huge rewards for you and your business.