Social Media Marketing Explosion

Are you wondering where you’ll get the most social media bang for the buck in 2011? There’s no doubt that social media is the way to go when it comes to establishing your brand, increasing your visibility, and having any chance at all of going viral with your success, but it wasn’t until I read a report by the Experian® Hitwise® group – part of Experiean Marketing Services, that I knew exactly why the game has changed as much as it has.

According to their report, the most visited website in 2010 was Facebook, moving up two slots from 2009. In 2009, the most visited website was Google. Now it’s Facebook. Facebook visits accounted for 8.93 percent of all U.S. visits, with Google trailing at 7.19% and Yahoo in a distant third at 3.52%. The top 10 websites accounted for 33% of all Internet traffic.

For Internet Marketers, that’s not just an important piece of news; it’s a game changer. In fact, if you’re not actively and aggressively leveraging your Facebook page, you are already behind for 2011. Facebook, as well as other social media marketing, must be your priority for 2011 if you want to continue to build on your success or become successful if you’re just starting out.

Facebook was also, for the second year in a row, the top search term, according to the Hitwise report. In fact, when you add up the various terms used to search for Facebook, including “Facebook login” and “Facebook.com” the social media site accounted for 3.48% of all searches on the Internet. 3.48% is not a lot if you’re talking discounts or grades, but it is enormous when you consider the millions of searches being conducted every single day. According to the Experian Hitwise report, when all the different Facebook search terms are combined, they represent a 207 percent increase over 2009. Compared to their 3.48%, AOL had .34%; Google had .63%; Craigslist had .62%.

According to the report, other social media sites like YouTube and MySpace also ranked, and social networking terms were dominant in 2010. What this means to me – and what it should mean to every Internet marketer out there – is that a re-evaluation is in order. It’s time to dig out your marketing plan and budget, dust them off, and map out 2011, taking into account the new priorities. If you are still pumping money into a Google PPC campaign that isn’t getting you anywhere, maybe you ought to spend a fraction of that money on a good developer who can help you truly leverage your social media presence by customizing your pages and giving you consistent branding throughout all of your social media platforms.

As you’re looking ahead and making your social media marketing plan, your focus will be on Facebook. It should, of course – but don’t forget to think about those up and coming sites that might be the game changers for next year, like YouTube and LinkdIn. Internet Marketers cannot afford to simply keep up with the crowd – they have to stay ahead of it. Never stop looking for the next social media wave if you want to stay competitive.