Today we all post photos of what we ate, our feet as we sit on the beach, our pets and certainly our selfies. This is a time when we are communicating our lives, feelings, political stances and major events using social media.

When Betty White hosted NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” as part of her monologue, she told the audience, “I am part of the generation that believed it was rude to make people look at photos of their vacation.” Those days are truly gone.

According to Hubspot, 92 percent of marketers in 2014 claimed that social media marketing was important for their business, with 80 percent indicating their efforts increased traffic to their websites. According to Social Media Examiner, 97 percent of marketers are currently participating in social media but 85 percent of participants aren’t sure what social media tools are the best to use.

Social media is an important part of an effective marketing plan. According to, Facebook is still No. 1 with an estimated 1.59 billion users. Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest follows with Snapchat growing in popularity with teens and millennials. There are now web stars on YouTube with many of them getting paid by advertisers to promote products and services to a new generation.

There is increased visibility for brand recognition on social media. Consider them as new channels to showcase your business, product or service. For example, a frequent social media user can become aware of your business after reading it in a newsfeed.
According to a report published by Texas Tech University, businesses that engage on social media channels receive more loyalty from their customers. Another study published by Convince & Convert found that 53 percent of Americans who follow brands and companies on social media are more loyal to those brands.

When you build a following on social media, you have the chance to reach new, recent and old customers, and you’ll be able to interact with all of them. Every image, video, comment or post is an opportunity for someone to react, and every reaction could lead to clicking on your website or engaging with you in other ways.

Identify business goals and your social media strategy should serve the goals you set. Marketing objectives aren’t useful if specific parameters aren’t defined to measure success. For example, if one of your primary goals is generating leads and sales, how many leads and sales do you have to generate before you consider that goal a success?

If a business is suffering from low engagement on their social profiles, it’s usually because they don’t have an accurate customer profile. Knowing your customers will define and target the right people with the right messages. This includes age, occupation, income, interests, problems, obstacles, habits, likes, dislikes and motivations.

Social media is one way we reach out to the readers of the magazine as well as promote our sponsors. It is part of our overall marketing plan and it should be part of your business plan for success.