Social Media as a Viable Marketing Avenue for Business
By Gavin Head Social media outlets such as Facebook, Myspace, Linkedin, and Twitter are very popular among people of all demographics and ages. They allow for a real-time look into the daily lives of friends and family. The social media users range from elementary schoolers to grandmas wanting to keep in touch. This wide range of appeal has grown social media very quickly. For business owners, social media is almost a no-brainer marketing strategy but there are still many businesses that fail to recognize the importance of what a ‘tweet’ or “status update” or a Facebook Fan Page can do for their company, their brand, and their profits.
Consumers use the internet to reach out to companies whether it is for research or customer service matters. Companies maintaining websites are able to generate interest and sales from a virtual international marketplace. Marketing personnel work hard to ensure their website and their products are being prominently displayed in front of their target audience using many resources. Now, with the advent and popularity of social media sites, companies literally have front row tickets to their target marketplace.
Social media sites encourage and enable real-time interaction between individuals. Companies taking advantage of this resource will find that they can get the exact message they want to deliver to their intended audience. They open the doors to associating directly with their customer base, where information that filters back can be invaluable. Feedback that results on social media can help a company understand what their customers are thinking, looking for, needing, and feeling. In turn, a company can provide necessary solutions as they are needed.
Companies that are reaching out directly to their customers through social media, will likely be remembered and subsequently develop a following of potential customers based on friend referrals. It is a prime opportunity for businesses to reveal sale information, events, and even company news to the public. Social media tools also allow companies to follow current trends and get a first-hand look at what people are talking about. Depending on the nature of a business, it can be crucial to have this kind of knowledge over the competition. Now that there are agreements in place with Google and Bing to include your social media updates in search results, these updates can significantly increase the traffic to your blog, social media profile, and website, as well as increase the overall ranking of your web pages.
Another advantage of being an active participant in the social media world is the endless opportunities for your own business to connect with vendors, affiliates, and job seekers. With so many industries becoming involved in social media, companies may even take advantage of the learning opportunities to improve their business, using resources they never knew existed. Essentially, social media sites are breaking down many barriers and allowing B2B connections to thrive.
Creativity Is Empowering
One of the key elements of a good social media plan is consistency and another is creativity. The point of having direct access to your customers is to get them interested in your business, get them excited about your products or services, and get them to like you. Your plan to market on social media sites must be strong because it can be all too easy to get behind on tasks and eventually abandon your efforts altogether. Random quips and comedy may work from time to time, but you must go into social media with a plan if you want to be successful. You want to stay recognizable and reliable on all sites to keep the consumers interested and looking for more. The reliability of your company is essential because, especially now, consumers are going to buy from those whom they trust and like on some level. Your daily presence in their updates and news feeds can mean a lot, to both your customers and your bottom line.
Social media sites are relatively easy to set up and use, but it truly is the brains behind the words that will make a difference. Staying on top of social media updates and consistently delivering strong content is a full time job. For smaller businesses or solo entrepreneurs, this can be especially challenging. For this reason many companies are choosing to to get help from experts, while some are continuing to handle it in-house, with mixed results. With careful planning and dedication to this marketing avenue, results will definitely be seen in both the short and the long term if handled correctly from the start. Social media and business go together like bread and butter. For some companies, social media interaction may in fact become the proverbial ‘bread and butter’ of the company profits.
Gavin Head is a marketing professional and owner of 1st Position Marketing www.1stpositionmarketing.com. He specializes in marketing, branding and growing profitable small businesses through the power of smart marketing strategies and tactics- and uses social media daily.