Use of social media sites has exploded in the last seven years. In February 2005, the Pew Research Center conducted the first of six surveys as part of the Internet & American Life Project. In 2005, only 2% of adults who use the Internet were using a social media site.That number increased to 16% in 2006, 29% in 2008, 46% in 2009, 61% in 2010 and 65% in 2011.
Who are these users?
According to a Morgan Stanley report issued in December 2009, 67% of 18-34 year olds use a social networking site – and so do 67% of 45-54 year old and 55% of those aged 55+. In 2007, social networking represented about 1 out of every 12 minutes spent online, while today it accounts for 1 out of every 6 minutes spent online.
Along with this growth, social media sites have evolved from purely personal to commercial use – a way for people to connect to a business and its fans. Businesses find they can use social media sites for marketing purposes, such as engaging in a dialogue with customers, building brand awareness, making offers or providing premiums, coupons or samples, and alerting customers to upcoming promotions or product launches (sneak previews).
Direct mail is still relevant
Does the popularity of social networking sites mean that businesses and organizations can drop direct mail as a marketing tool?