Today’s businesses should be interested in the new age of “Social Media” to promote their products and services. With this in mind, it is important to gain a firm foundation of all “Social Media” encompasses.
First let’s talk about “What is Social Media?” When social media comes up, web sites like Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube (some of the most popular right now) usually come to mind. However social media is much more. Our definition of social media would be people interacting with each other through technology. The purpose of social media networks is to create communities of people that have similar interests and experiences.
There is a long list of social media outlets which may be used to reach many different networks of people. A few that you may not have considered are forums/chat boards, blogs, email, text messaging, and web sites that engage in social interaction. Television is even becoming more interactive with advertisers directing consumers to social networks, as well as most new televisions have internet access built in. Video games today have social elements allowing players to interact with one another online. Mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets have access to many types of social media, allowing consumers to stay “logged in” and connected no matter where they may be. You are probably thinking of others that could be added to this list.
The key is for businesses to understand that social media has been growing rapidly and is by far the fastest growing segment of business marketing ever. Yes, the players in the game may change, sometimes very quickly, but the social interaction we as humans yearn for will not.
There are other unique benefits that social media can provide to your business. It is the fastest way to collect real time data from the public, which gives companies the opportunity to poll or focus group their current and future customers. Social media allows a company to quickly address questions or customer service issues. Studies have shown that using social media to diffuse issues can be faster and more effective than other avenues such as telephone and in person. This is primarily due to the fact that when people write out their problem, they will tend to be more concise about what they need to resolve the issue.
Social media outlets are generally open for public viewing. People can see that the company is handling issues and doing the right thing. This may help to promote the business in a positive light to their customers.
Social media allows companies to reach their target market and share information in a way no other media outlet provides. Some examples that have proven successful are posting new and exciting information on social networks, running contests, polling, press-releases, and commenting on blogs and in forums. Also, using a micro blog like Twitter to start a conversation about a topic and sending out newsletters to people wanting more information.
The possibilities are almost endless. This is why it is so important to reach out to professionals in the social media industry that manage these entities daily for their clients. As social media evolves, businesses will have no choice but to carve out a very important presence in the social landscape. This presence allows each business to reach its current and future customers effectively, building a strong network and maximizing profits.