It hasn’t been around all that long, many companies both large and small have adopted it but many have also shied away. If you are on the fence or just starting to get your toes wet, here are 20 things about social media marketing that you didn’t know.

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1. Its not really Free

For the most part, the networks and platforms that you use to get out in front of your customers are free but you will pay for your marketing push in time and energy (or staff wages). Its important to learn about time management techniques and to develop a strategy to get the most out of your time online.

2. Its practically Free

When you compare the price of advertising in print to advertising online you will see that your reach/frequency/exposure is really impressive for the small (comparatively) price that you pay online. Plus, you can track your success in a way that traditional media does not allow. You will know what is working and what isn’t so your rate of effectiveness will increase.

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3. Facebook and Twitter Are Not The Only Social Networking Sites

They are certainly the most popular but you shouldn’t put all your eggs into their baskets. Investigate sites like Instagram and Youtube for photos and video, Pinterest is a hugely popular option for driving traffic and brand awareness. There is also Reddit, with over 43 million users and StumbleUpon and Digg for news, content and sharing.

4. Video Is Searchable

Did you know that YouTube (owned by Google) is the 2nd largest search engine? If you want your product or service to get found you need to get it on YouTube. Okay, maybe you don’t needto get it on YouTube but its worth checking out!

5. We Watch A Lot Of Video

60 hours of video are uploaded every minute, or one hour of video is uploaded to YouTube every second.
Over 4 billion videos are viewed each day!

6. Seriously, A Lot.

500 years of YouTube video are watched every day on Facebook.

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7. Facebook Is Connecting Us All

One in every nine people on Earth is on Facebook (This number is calculated by dividing the planets 6.94 billion people by Facebook’s 750 million users)

8. We Love Facebook On The Go

More than 250 million people access Facebook through their mobile devices

9. Getting New Brand Page Likes

If you’re looking for new “Likes” for your company Facebook page, try promoted posts and other advertising options. It seems that 75% of brand likes comes from advertisements.

10. Blogging Is Awesome

According to Hubspot, companies that blog generate a whooping 55% more web traffic than those who don’t!

11. You Can Schedule Your Updates

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Lots of people still don’t realize that they don’t have to spend their entire lives online to reach their target demographics. You can schedule your status updates, tweets, blog posts and photo sharing for the best possible time to reach your audience. Ask me how.

12. You Must Understand Your Audience

If you try to appeal to everyone, you will probably appeal to none…. Or something much more eloquent. Basically what I’m saying is you can’t sell to everyone, not everyone is your customer. Take the time to complete a customer avatar or profile so that you can accurately connect with the people who actually want to hear your message

13. Buying Likes Won’t Help You

It may have… once upon a time. Today, we are much more savvy and will be able to tell when you are trying to pull the wool over our eyes. plus, there are programs that will tell us who has real followers and who has fake ones. How embarrassed would you be if it was discovered that you have mostly fake fans? Just ask Lady Gaga.

14. Google + is Useful

Seriously!

You guys, I’m serious, Google+ is a great place to be if you want to be found in search. Set up a profile, add a pretty picture and start posting content – don’t forget to add a few people to your circles. Before you know it, you’ll be using Google + like a pro!

15. Not Everyone Will See Your Facebook Updates

Only about 16% of your fans will see any of your updates. This is because of FB’s algorithm that determines what we see based on our previous preferences. If you have always liked, shared or commented on the great stuff posted by the Green Rock Connect page then you will see more of it regularly, but if you tire of your friend Sally inviting you to play Farmville and you never engage with those posts, you will see less and less of them.

16. Bogging Doesn’t Have To Mean Writing

If you hated writing essays in high school, you may hate writing blog posts today. Or not, give it a try before you decide, but know this: Blogging Can Mean Pictures or Video. A blog is a weblogand a weblog can take any shape. Experiment with different content “recipes” and see what you like and what gets the best reactions.

17. Social Media Is Always Evolving

Lots of times we wonder just how much effort we need to put into something that may be gone tomorrow. To that I say: As Much As You Want, but don’t get hung up on “what ifs”. Facebook was not a part of our lives 10 years ago but today, many of us couldn’t live without it. Business is always changing, so it the market, so are your customers and your competitors. Learn to adapt and evolve and you’ll stay alive.

18. Pictures Are Key

Whenever you post an update on Facebook for your company, consider using an image to go with it. Something eye-catching and compelling. Facebook owns Instagram and has put heavy emphasis on the use of images. Plus, we find that people respond more favourably to images than to text-only updates.

19. Interaction Values

When someone retweets, shares or comments on something you’ve posted online it creates something called a social signal. Google uses social signals to determine authority and popularity of websites. Each interaction usually has a value, either assigned by Google or the original networking site. On Facebook, it goes like this: Shares are more valuable then comments which trump Likes. Aim for shares with your content.

20. Social Networking sites Function Like Cocktail Parties

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They exist so that we can socialize with one another, not so that companies can blast everyone with boring marketing messages. If you were at a party and someone that you had just met kept shouting into the crowd: “I sell napkins! Who needs a napkin?” You might at first, appreciate the napkin but eventually you would get bored of hearing about his napkins. You might leave the room or even ask the host to send him home! Don’t be that guy. Talk to your fans and followers about themselves and their needs, wishes, hopes, dreams, problems, hunger pains, kids, whatever. Just make sure that you are there for them, not just to tell them about you.

Related: When someone leaves you a message or sends you a tweet don’t ignore them! You wouldn’t ignore someone at the cocktail party who was trying to chat you up would you? No, thats rude and by the way, this person has volunteered to interact with you and your company – get your butt busy interacting with them! This is the sort of attention we would have paid good money for not too long ago!