It’s impossible to deny that this is the age of social media. Millions of apps, websites and other such online platforms make it possible for people, from businessman to marketer to something-or-other expert all the way over to the simple person that just wants to show the world what he’s up to, to reach others and share with the world the funny, the crazy, the thoughtful, the delicious and the tech-savvy ideas and happenings that others would and should show an interest in.
Let’s be honest, people these days are on the internet a lot; it’s become part of our psyche and our culture. Is it bad? Is it good? I don’t think it’s easy to take a stance on that, due to many factors. But no one can contest the fact that social media has grown to the point where it is powerful enough to sway emotion, intent and stance. It is a public stage that everyone taps into, whether actively (pushing content) or passively (passing along content, e.g. retweeting someone’s tweet).
I can remember the days when I held an online personal blog (no, I won’t tell you its address!). In the early 2000’s, blogging giant livejournal was used by the Harry Potter fanbase (yes, guilty as charged) as an easy platform to connect through communities, publish fanfiction, fanart and speculative theories as to what might happen next in the books, as well as personal journalling. And flaming fan wars. Oh, the popcorn days… But I had something going on, I was writing up a storm of fanfics, and I had a growing following due to the extra time I took to shamelessly plug myself and my writing on communities, sites like fanfiction.net, and other fansites.
I don’t write anymore, though. For some reason, university ended, real life took over, and my job took hold and never quite let go. But the point stands: if you have a following of some size, then you do have power. And it’s great to hold that power, to be able to interact with people and share what you’re up to.
How your business can use social media
From a business perspective, the story is similar: engaging with your clientèle and the public is of utmost importance. As we saw with Barack Obama’s first campaign, they “[bolted] together social networking applications under the banner of a movement, they created an unforeseen force to raise money, organize locally, fight smear campaigns and get out the vote that helped them topple the Clinton machine and then John McCain and the Republicans.” [source]
1. Social media helps you learn about your client base
The key to success is knowing your client base. Social media is an easy-peasy way to learn about your audience and, therefore, your client base. This knowledge will help you build campaigns, status updates, products and so on that cater to that audience, which will return on that investment.
2. Social media helps find new clients
You don’t need to be on every social media platform to do this. Finding new clients and finding social success depend on the type of business you run and the type of social business you want to run. Facebook, for example, is fairly low-maintenance and works for almost every type of business. Instagram, on the other hand, is a lot more hands-on and requires dedication, time, and besides works best in certain niches as opposed to others.
My advice is to familiarize yourself with social networks, figure out which features fit you best and which ones don’t, and focus on the platform that best reflects your business and its mission. It will definitely help you generate leads for little to no budget!
For example, a jeans company might try to appeal to potential customers is need of some new denim:
3. Social media allows you to receive instant feedback from customers and do something about it
Social media gives your business instant access to feedback, whether it be positive or negative, which provides you with invaluable insight on their perspective. It also gives you a chance to make their situation better if called for. For example, this customer had a bad experience at a Burger King joint, and gave a piece of his mind to Burger King via twitter. Burger King’s social media department immediately took control of the situation and demanded information to make it right by their customer. This immediately created a meaningful relationship between the customer, who was treated like a human being and not a number on a bill, and the business, who was humanized to the eyes of the customer.
4. Share content faster, more easily with social media… and get more website traffic
In the dark days of yore, marketers needed to face the daily challenge of getting their content to their customers is the shortest possible amount of time. This was stressful, tiring, and often the content was already obsolete by the time it reached their audience. Let’s take news, for example. During wars, the news would often reach households days, even weeks later, due to the constraints of technology. With the power of social media, sharing content is much fast, and much more easy. Sharing content about your business is as easy as typing and pushing a button; instantly, it reaches people. Keep in mind, however, that ensuring they share your content means it will need to be interest to them.
So there you have it: the power of social media. Ensuring you hold that power means a lot of work, but in today’s age of technology, that has become much easier. You can easily learn about your client base, find a new client base, get feedback from your client base, and share content with that client base much more quickly.
Are you excited about building your social media strategy? Let me know, I can give you a hand!