It’s 2012, the year of the dragon. Isn’t it about time you fired up your social marketing strategy?

If you’re not already leveraging social sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to communicate with your audience, you’re missing out on a huge business opportunity. As most of our personal and professional lives move online, it’s important to start thinking about participating in the dynamic and exciting space of new media.

In this post, we’re giving you 12 reasons why we think you should make 2012 the year you go social …

1. Your Customers are Already Talking About you

Just last week I met with a business owner in Toronto. He told me that he’s thinking about going social, but he’s afraid that someone will say something about his business online. He was astounded when I told him that people already were. Imagine his surprise when we sat together with my laptop for an hour while I showed him a series of reviews and write-ups that people had submitted about his company in an online forum. Because he wasn’t on social media, he had no way of knowing. His lack of awareness illustrates my point that whether you like it or not, your customers are going to talk about you online. It’s up to you to reciprocate.

This is especially true of Twitter. Check out these stats:

– 42% of Twitter users turn to the microblogging service to learn about products & services

– 41% of Twitter users share their opinion on products & services

– 31% ask for opinions

– 21% purchase products and services from Twitter





2. Social Directs Traffic to Your Website

Even the best websites can get overlooked on the internet. Imagine you had a way of targeting your audience and drawing attention to your website and business. Social does just that. Don’t believe us? Check out this case study from our friends at Social Media Examiner. In it, Ana White, a mother and entrepreneur from Alaska, explains how she embedded a blog into her website to draw in nearly three million page views per month.


3. Social Lets You Keep an eye on the Competition

Oftentimes, clients ask me how to handle interactions with competitors on social media. Should I follow my competition on Twitter? Should I “like” their Facebook page? I say, go for it. While you don’t want to be promoting a competitor’s social presence constantly, a little bit of social camaraderie can go a long way. What’s more, you’ll be able to keep track of what you competition is doing so you can stay on top of industry trends and developments.

4. LinkedIn is a Professional Community with more than 100 Million Users

LinkedIn has been dubbed “the Facebook for professionals.” With 100 million members (and growing) this is one social utility that can’t be ignored. Use this network to establish connections, display your portfolio, and market your expertise. Want to learn how to whip your existing Linkedin profile into shape? Check out this fabulous infographic from our friends at Mashable. Once your profile is in tip top condition, you can even turn it into an Infographic by following this link.

5. Social Increases Customer Conversion

As Richard Berry of Business 2 Community explains, 35% of consumers want to look at a businesses’ Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profile before buying any product or service. Of those, a massive 70% said they wouldn’t deal with a new company if they didn’t have a social media presence.

6. Social Improves Your SEO

That’s Search Engine Optimization, for those less versed in tech tongue. The more content that’s being generated from your business the higher you’ll rank in organic SEO searches on search engines like Google. This means that when customers are looking for your product or service, you’re easily searchable and more likely to appear first—before your competition.

7. Social Increases Brand Awareness

If you’re actively using social to share information and connect with your audience, you’re keeping your brand fresh and relevant, so when consumers are choosing which brand to go with, you’re top-of-mind.

8. Social Advertising is Affordable now—and it Works!

Whether your brand is local or global, social advertising is a great way of reaching your audience, and right now it’s cheaper than it will ever be; as print becomes less commonplace, social advertising is destined to get more expensive as business start competing for online real estate. Better get your foot in the door!

9. Facebook Apps are Here

Facebook Apps are a great way of customizing how users will interact with your company’s Facebook page. Before, Facebook’s brand pages were pretty generic, but—as we’ve seen with Timeline—Facebook is continually engineering new ways for users to customize their online space:

10. Social is only Getting Smarter & Faster

If you’re not actively tweeting or sharing content on Facebook, you may feel like you’re stuck at the gate when it comes to social media. While it’s true that these platforms are getting increasingly intelligent, it’s never too late to learn, but, be warned, the longer you put it off, the harder it will be to get going. With social skyrocketing and the mobile and tablet realms exploding, don’t let your business get left behind.

11. Consumer Insights

The tools for learning about your audience on social platforms are growing more sophisticated as time goes on. For example, using Facebook Insights, a company can determine the age, gender, and location of their audience. YouTube has followed suit, and they’ve recently released insights as well.

12. Consumer Feedback

If you’re selling a great product or stellar service on social media, you’ll only discover new opportunities for improvement. If you build rapport with your network, you’ll be impressed with how generous people are with their time and ideas. Social is a great space for testing out products and services and gauging interest for an idea in real-time.

Have questions? Comments? We’d love to hear from you! Tweet us @igosocial and be sure to connect with us on Facebook

Title image via Joke Designs. All other images from Flickr’s creative commons.