I’ve got good news and bad news for you…

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Well, you know me – ever the optimist and always one for focusing on the positive, rather than festering on the negative, so I’m starting this week’s FIT Matters with the GOOD NEWS….

Social Media has been an integral part of modern society for many years now – it’s an inseparable element of our daily lives, both at work and at home. And thanks to crazy COVID and the situation this pandemic has caused, with so many of us home-working right now, it is reaching manic heights in its omnipresence.

It’s everywhere we turn. It’s on our mobile phones. It’s on our desktops. It’s on our iPads and tablets. It’s on the TV and radio. It’s in our newspapers. It’s on our letterheads and email signatures. It heads up the topic of almost every conversation.

Social Media is always there – from the moment we wake up, to the moment we fall asleep and for some of us, stays with us throughout the entire night, when that badass blue-light issue disturbs our slumber.

“Jeez, and this is the GOOD News?” I hear you say!

Well YES, if you have an online presence (which I assume you do?) because getting your brand out there – on the line, over the wire, in the hands and minds of your audience is easy peezy lemon squeezy when you’re using Social Media, wouldn’t you agree?

The definition says it all – put succinctly, it means ‘socialising through different means or methods’ and we all know how important it is for us to nurture a relationship (socialise) with our audience, in order to gain their trust, before trying to win their business or maintain their loyalty – so it makes sense to use the most influential social methods to achieve this.

Apps (or methods) like Facebook; Twitter; LinkedIn; Instagram; YouTube; WhatsApp; Pinterest and Snapchat are synonymous with Social Media – personally AND professionally.

And the stats speak for themselves….

A recent report published by tech experts TechJury, using the sources of We Are Social; Social Media Today; Fast Company; Connective; Hootsuite & Snapchat states that an average internet user spends over 2.5 hours on Social Media EVERY DAY, with just over 50% of that time being spent using a MOBILE device. Compared to the time spent on Social Media in 2012, which was just 1 HOUR, it seems our lives are becoming more virtual every day.

Indeed, this pandemic has put paid to that fact. We’re working and living in a virtual, online world right now and this trend certainly looks set to continue into the foreseeable future.

From my own research, it appears that Facebook continues to reign supreme, although a shift in age group users in 2020 is an interesting one – 46% of over 65s are now using Facebook (compared to just 26% last year), which is only 5% less than 13-17 year olds usage! It seems that our Gen Z population are turning their sights to other more funky platforms, such as TikTok and Instagram.

However, it’s worth pointing out that, when we consider Facebook from a BUSINESS perspective, a very large percentage of our audience is hanging out there: 84% of 25-30 year olds use Facebook, 79% of 30-49 year olds and 68% of 50-64 year olds, so we shouldn’t rule it out as a viable business channel in which to meet our prospects and customers of the future!

Facebook is the 3rd most visited website, outranked only by Google and YouTube, so it certainly should play its part in your marketing mix, especially when you take into account its 2.2. billion users, 1.4 billion who are ACTIVE DAILY users, equating to an ave usage of of 58 mins per day AND the staggering fact that 8 billion VIDEOS are viewed daily on Facebook – another upcoming profitable route to market, according to the research.

If your business operates internationally, then it’s worth noting that India has the highest number of Facebook users at 290 million, with United States, Indonesia and Brazil following closely. Interestingly, the UK stands close to Turkey, Pakistan and Bangladesh at a mere 37 million, though as that figure represents more than half of the population of GB, we shouldn’t rule Facebook out as a means of marketing our business to our avatars.

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Last month the World Health Organisation published a fascinating (and slightly scary) report about this virtual, online world we’re all moving into and the massive role Social Media plays in its wake. The average global lifespan is age 72, which when compared to the amount of time the average person will spend on Social Media in their lifetime equates to 3,462,390 minutes or scarier still, 6 years and 8 months. WOW! This is double the amount of time we spend eating & drinking in our lifetime (3 years 7 months) and 3 times the amount of time we spend shopping (2 years 2 months)

When we consider the other prime Social Media channels, the stats are equally as mind-blowing – and according to TechJury, these figures are already out of date, with Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram becoming THE preferred social platforms for younger generations…

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Social Media is not only here to stay, its platforms will continue to become ever more sophisticated, offering an ever-wider variety of things to do on them – for both business AND pleasure.

These ever-growing social platforms will influence our everyday lives, both in AND out of the workplace, from helping us choose the right soulmate; find the right outfit for a special occasion; check up on friends (or strangers in need of a listening ear) or learn a new skill, be it salsa dancing or knitting.

And when it comes to business, Social Media will enable us to develop even more profitable ways to network with our prospects and customers – helping us influence our audience’s likes and dislikes; buying decisions and spending power.

It’s been said that this simple networking concept (Social Media) is arguably just a front for a robust marketing machine running in the background. After all, most companies are aware that Social Media can make or break their business – with good AND bad news stories going viral within seconds and psychological biases playing a huge part in the decision-making process. There are big bucks to be made by businesses using Social Media to attract, retain and grow their customer base and for as long as this is the case, social platforms will continue to grow and flourish.

So that’s the good news over….and now for the BAD NEWS ☹

A shocking post (on Facebook) first published by The Annoying Bird back in 2018 and doing the rounds again last week (for obvious reasons, given the current situation) depicts a world of Social Media maniacs, totally engulfed in online mechanisms that detract them from normal daily living – like feeding their baby or dancing with their loved one or chilling out with friends.

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The images, while very well drawn, are quite disturbing. If this is what we have to ‘look forward to’ as we embark on this journey of working & living in a virtual, online world, then I for one, do not feel overly optimistic about my business OR personal life in the future.

As with everything – at work and play, we must do things in moderation.

Misuse or overuse will wreak havoc on an already chaotic world which we’re now living in – and I urge you, especially as business leaders, to think carefully about how you use this incredibly powerful tool that is SOCIAL MEDIA, to ensure it inspires rather than extinguishes the very essence of our being and that of our prospects and customers.

84% of a customer’s experience is EMOTIONAL – and no amount of sophisticated technology, no matter how social you make it, can build those emotional connections in the way YOU, as a human being can!

Until next time – stay safe and keep FIT!

Best regs

Marie X

Hello... I'm Marie Cross

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