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In today’s world we expect instant gratification. With mobile devices in our hands all day every day, we can request information instantly and expect answers just as quickly. As of January 2014, 90 percent of American adults have a cell phone (Pew Research), and more than half of those cell phone owners check the phone even when it hasn’t rung or vibrated. As the way we communicate continues to change, marketing has to adapt to the new forums made available to us—especially social media platforms. It is essential that companies now have a social media strategy in place to stay top of mind.

As consumers use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other online social media accounts to communicate, it is increasingly important that brands make their presence known online and create communities within these social media outlets. Consistency is key. The important first step is identifying for your size of business which platforms your customers and potential customers utilize and becoming consistent with updating those first. You can then focus on expanding into other social platforms as your process for consistency is established. Companies shouldn’t simply set up a single platform such as Facebook or Twitter then never update or post new information. Consumers are very social media savvy and expect companies that put social platforms in place to be active and responsive. It is better to be great at maintaining one social media account than to have five or six accounts that aren’t being updated and maintained.

The key to having a successful online presence is in building a community where your clients and customers can interact while still being reminded of the brand. It is imperative that these social media accounts are not just a barrage of advertisements—they need to also contain interesting content that will appeal to the audience.

Look at some of the top Fortune 500 companies—Apple, Starbucks, and Target all have very active social media accounts, which only adds to their credibility and ultimately success. These successful companies were able to identify how their customers wanted to be communicated with and used that to their advantage.

At Catalyst we are very aware of the need for a strong social media presence, especially with the demographic we market to. The trends are constantly changing, and it is imperative to be aware of and active on the current sites and stay abreast of the next “hot” platform.

People believe that Facebook may be seeing a decline in younger demographics; however, research shows that it still “remains the dominant player in the social networking space” (Pew Research). Facebook has seen an increase in usage among older demographics, adults ages 50 – 65-plus. This shows that Facebook is still a very relevant tool and can be used to market both to prospective residents as well as to their parents and guarantors so they feel involved as well.

If you have questions on how to establish an online community or tips for others about social media, we would love to hear from you. Your first step if you don’t already have a social media presence established should be to start posting interesting content relevant to your industry on one forum until you get the hang of it and can use that one platform well. Be sure to check out some of our other posts for quick tips on how to make the most of your social media accounts.