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Have you utilise both Search and Social Marketing for your advertising campaign?

Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn has seen exponential growth. These social networking sites have millions of active users on their portal everyday; users foraging for information, browsing pictures, viewing through friend's social status updates and etc.

What has massive amount of users using these platforms have in line with marketing? Well, marketers too have gained a whole new range of channels to broastcast their messages. In fact, many smart marketers are using these channels to engage their customers, to answer their query on an instant basis and finally to use these platforms to drive up their sales opportunities.

Marketers aside, many Small-Medium-Enterprises (SME) bosses also realised that using and leveraging on these platforms can help them grow their business, at a very cost-effective price. SMEs can no longer afford to ignore social. Why? Simply because this is the channel where their customers are spending the most of their time online. Recent research from Nielsen also shows that internet users are spending their time on social media networks and blogs more than any other internet channel. In fact, close to 25% of their time spent online is spent on social networking activities.

Besides, it wouldn't hurt if the process actually helps to drive more traffic from organic results of search engines. Results have shown that optimising your reach in these social networking platforms also helps in their Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategies.

Let's look at the table below. The table below shows a typical user (US user) spending time on the internet in an hour. Not surprisingly, 22.6% of time spent is utilize on Social Networking portals. Search, even though it is used by everyone, only contributes about 3.5%. This is only natural because users search on Google & Yahoo to reach other websites. They don't actually spend a lot of time on the search engines portal. In fact, companies like Google & Yahoo wants to bring you to where you want to go fast. They wouldn't like if you hover around in their website for long amount of time.

iClick Media - Time Spent in an Hour on the Internet

Search engines such as Google & Bing are also realising the threat from social media. Google came up with Google Buzz but unfortunately could not generate the "buzz" they wanted. Bing on the other hand, instead of coming up with a new product, actually team up with Facebook to incorporate their data into the search engine results. There are increasing developmental plans in terms of social networking features for both Bing and Google.

Actually, very recently, both Google and Bing confirmed that they actually use social signals from Facebook and Twitter as relevancy indicators. This bodes well for users (we love to see what our friends recommend), for the search engine (giving better more qualified results) and also for the social networking sites (expanding their reach and brand value).

In fact, in terms of money spent improving their digital lead generation, besides search engine optimisation, following closely behind is social media marketing. Let's take a look at what some marketers in a recent MarketingSherpa survey has got planned for their 2011 marketing budget.

iClick Media - Internet Marketing Plans 2011

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