eMarketer has recently issued a report looking at the use of social media and networks in five important European markets: France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. The company writes that the use of social networking is on the increase in Western Europe. That is obviously not really news.
The report also contains the traditional prognosis: eMarketer estimates that more than half of the Western European population will use social networks at least once this year, an increase of 16.2% in contrast to 2010. The company also expects that 64.4% of the Internet users in these countries will be "regular social network users".
A more widespread demographic range and use
It is interesting that a large part of the growth shall come from increased broadband access (which is quite noticeable because there are not all that many phone line connections left in the countries mentioned) and from an increased use by the 50-plusses. We saw exactly the same phenomenon when the Internet became a part of our digital life and "senior citizens" were the fastest growing segment at the end. It was a sign of the "maturation" of the WWW at the time. Social media seem to also be in this phase. The prediction that the use of social networks in France, Germany, Italy and Spain - according to eMarketer at least - will catch up with the social networking use in the UK by 2015, is also worth mentioning.
The position of social media marketing: what really matters
What can we learn from all this?
- Social networking will really become mainstream and hit new demographic segments.
- It is rather high time marketers start some serious work on the integration of social media in their holistic interactive marketing mix.
My advice is especially that you study the use of social media well among your customers and prospects to accomplish an intelligent integration between all your marketing activities depending on their media consumption and the preferences of your target groups. That social networks will remain with us for the foreseeable future and that their use will grow is not really world news.
What is important, is what you and your customers will do with it, how you will develop competitive benefits, expand cross-channel interactive marketing strategies, improve customer satisfaction and brand reputation, create added value, how you want to convert the insight you acquire from the social media environment to intelligence and actions and how this will contribute to the bottom-line.
Today's customer is cross-channel and he/she is at the centre of sales and marketing.
Communication channels depend on the consumer and marketing is about engaging the cross-channel customer and prospect throughout integrated dialogues that are driven by his/her buying journey, preferences, triggers, signals and behaviour.
Discover why your business should move to an integrated marketing approach step by step and how.