Are You Ready to Profit From the Massive Growth of Social Media This Year?
The social web has been around right from the start. In fact, the Internet was social even before the first web browsers were created.
But, it is only during the last few years that the social potential of the Web has truly come into its own with social media services like Twitter, Facebook, and others.
If you’re not sure quite how big social media has become, here are some figures for you.
- According to site analytics firm Hitwise, in 2010, Facebook beat Google as the number one most visited site in the U.S.
- Facebook now has over 500 million users, and is valued at $50 billion.
- Twitter has over 175 million users, and transmitted over 25 billion tweets last year alone.
Plus, there are over 5 billion mobile devices in use worldwide, many of which are used to access social media sites and use social apps. (Over 100 million Facebook users access their page through mobile devices.)
You get the idea, I’m sure.
Just as the second half of the 90s saw a fast and massive growth in the use of the Web, we are now in the middle of an even larger and faster growth in the use of social media.
But, the growth in social media is not an event separate from the Web. It is transforming the Web and how we use it. Millions of people begin their day on Facebook and end their day on Facebook, without ever leaving the site.
And, don’t be fooled into thinking this is just about personal interaction between individuals, or playing games like Farmville, and somehow separate from e-commerce. That’s not so.
For example, you can now buy flowers directly from the 1800Flowers Facebook page. You don’t need to go to their site to complete the transaction. You can do it all without leaving Facebook. And, 1800Flowers is not alone in allowing its visitors to read, browse, choose, and order within the Facebook environment.
Like I said, don’t be fooled. Many people think social media is all about people chatting together, and telling each other where they went for coffee this morning.
Social media is transforming every aspect of business online.
- Companies are managing their customer service through social media.
- Individual retailers are reaching out to mobile phone users with coupons, discounts, and other offers.
- Companies are searching for new employees through social media.
- Media companies are shifting content over to social media.
- Individuals are building successful businesses through social media.
- Huge companies are launching their new products through social media. (Ford launched its Explorer vehicle not at an auto show, but on Facebook.)
As a freelancer, it’s important that you understand the full scope of what is happening with social media, and how it is transforming the marketing plans of companies large and small.
According to eMarketer, 57% of businesses worldwide will be increasing their spending on social media in 2011. Contrast that with the fact that only 18% will be increasing their direct mail spending.
For every freelancer, the writing is on the wall.
And here is what it says …
If you want to get ahead as a freelancer, you simply cannot afford to ignore social media. You need to immerse yourself in it, understand it, and learn how to profit from it.
Beyond that, let me make a prediction.
If it hasn’t happened to you already, some time soon, a client or prospective client will ask you, “Do you know social media?” Or, “Can you help us with our social media plan?” Or, “Could you do some of our social media writing for us?”
Can you afford to say “No” to these questions? Maybe you’ll get away with saying “No” once or twice. But beyond that, you’ll start losing out to freelancers who say “Yes.”
Make no mistake, social media is here to stay, and will continue to transform the entire marketing landscape for every company and organization on the planet.
If you are a freelance writer or copywriter — or plan on becoming one — there is a huge opportunity here.
Sure, some companies are early adopters and are already using social media to their advantage. But, the vast majority of companies need help. And, when they can’t find social media expertise in-house (and most won’t be able to), they’ll look to freelancers for the expertise they need.
The time is now.
Most freelancers will pause, and let others take the lead.
And, they will lose as a result.
If you plan on making 2011 a big year for your business, you’re going to have to make social media expertise part of that success.
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