Now that you know what social networking is, you may ask yourself, “Why should I as a small business owner care about social media?” The answer is simple: you should care because your customers use it.
According to mediapost.com, about half of all Americans use social media or have social media profiles. That number jumps to almost 60% looking at adults between the ages of 35-45 and up to 75% when looking at adults aged 18-24. And Americans aren’t the trendsetters when it comes to social media. According to USA Today, over two-thirds of the world’s online population visit social media sites and blogs.
The interesting thing to note is that it isn’t just young people who are using social media. According to TWTRCON, the Twitter-led conference that focuses entirely on social media, more than three-quarters of Twitter users are over the age of 25. Nielsen Online reports that the largest growth of social media in the last year came from those in their thirties and forties.
The number of users aged 25–34 has grown 60.8%; the number of users aged 35 to 54 has grown 190.2%, while the number of users older than 55 years has grown a tremendous 513.7% (Mashable.com) Facebook is not just for the young and neither are other social media sites.
People who use social media are sharing their opinions and much more. They tell others what they
care about or pay attention to and how they think by use of social bookmarking like Digg and Del.i.cious, and through their use of comments, friends, followers, downloads, favorites, views, votes, and links. An internet-savvy small business can measure what’s important to these users by looking at what ideas are being expressed, and who or what these users are talking about most.
You no longer have to wait for your customer to come to you: Social networking is a proactive way of reaching out to potential clients and telling them what’s so special about your business.
The best part about social networking is that often, other people are the ones who are putting the word out for you. The viral nature of social networking allows word to spread quickly about what the next popular thing is. By taking advantage of this, you can make sure your business is what everyone is talking about.