Can I live without Social Media?

Social media is the be-all and end-all of the internet… right?

Certainly there are folks out there who will tell you that. And in some ways, they are a little right. Social media is definitely a big deal if you are marketing heavily to a web-based and technologically tuned-in audience.

But what if your audience doesn’t have iPhones or a facebook account, or has no idea how twitter works? How to do you get to THEM?

Good old fashioned marketing still works.

Have you noticed a significant drop in the amount of junkmail that arrives in your regular old snail mail box at home? I doubt it. You’ve likely noticed a reduction in actual mail (sadly, probably not bills though, right?)

If snail mail & hard copies didn’t still work, huge chains wouldn’t still be using them.

If newspaper ads and flyers at the mall didn’t have some benefit, businesses would entirely stop using them.

If networking events and trade shows didn’t result in business growth, people would stop participating in them.

Yes, you can live without Social Media.

But it might be more expensive, and slower showing results, and more work (tho precisely how much is wide open to discussion).

Businesses that have survived on word-of-mouth only will continue to survive. Word-of-mouth remains the best, most solid business building tool of them all. But with social media it works better (and faster, and broader).

But let’s take a look at some situations:

Professional Services: Lawyer, Dentist, Counselor, Accountant, etc – reasonably busy practice, happy with existing level of work, large city in which practice is well established. Social media might seem completely unnecessary. Word of mouth will drive these businesses forward with no other advertising necessary. But they might want to consider social media to position themselves at the top of their field, or to generate media attention, or to branch out into a more public arena – eg. speaking or being invited to an “expert panel”.

Same professions, but perhaps not so busy, would like to have more clients, practice is in a smaller town or suburb. Word of mouth is great, but the circles might not be wide enough. This is the perfect scenario for local newspaper advertising. The rule of 7’s applies well here. “Hit ’em seven times if you want them to see you once.” A weekly ad in your neighbourhood news could be really effective. Or sponsoring a local team. Or hosting Chamber of Commerce mixers. Putting a flyer in mailboxes can even work. So can running an ad on your local TV listings channel! Including a social media point of contact could help bridge the gaps between those on and off the “grid” and grow your audience more quickly.

Not everyone is on facebook…

And certainly that means that not every potential customer is going to miss you if you’re not on facebook. (Yes, of course there are more platforms than just facebook but this post would go on and on forever if we looked at them all, and you’d get bored, and you’d stop reading, and well, then what would it all be for anyway? :D)

Below, however, are some stats* that might help you wrap your head around social media’s reach:

US population: 312,771,000
US users on facebook: 155,981,460
that means 49.8701% of Americans use facebook.

Canadian population: 34,482,779
CADs on facebook: 16,908,380
so, 49.0342% of Canadians use facebook

Australian population: 22,790,368
Aussies on facebook: 10,659,580
thus, 46.7723% of Australians use facebook

Brazilian population: 190,755,799
Brazilians on facebook: 30,453,260
and so, 15.964% of Brazilians use facebook.

So… if HALF your country is on facebook, that means HALF IS NOT. Right? and even moreso if you’re Brazilian… 84% of your potential audience is not on facebook.

But that is only HALF of the equation. From those halves, you need to know how much of YOUR audience is where.

71% of the global facebook population is under 35 years of age. Barely over half of the global facebook population is male. So, conversely, 29% are OVER 35, and well, of those, MORE are female.

Global numbers get skewed a little – in the US, for example, 35% of users are over 35.

What the heck does that MEAN?

It means IF your target market is over 35, and particularly if they’re over 45, and you’re not selling iPhones, (or if you live in Brazil) you should definitely continue to employ old-school marketing techniques.

That’s not getting you off the hook for getting up to speed with social media, but it does give you a get-out-of-jail-free card for taking your time.

* population stats from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population    social media stats from: http://www.socialbakers.com/