Oh, social media. Just those two simple words alone have had a gigantic effect on the marketing and advertising world in the past few years. What you learned in class and even how you were taught ten years ago is vastly different than how and what kids are learning in class nowadays. In a recent class, our semester long project was dedicated to building a personal presence online using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogging. Sure, we learned some other basics, but clearly social media has become a very important ingredient in any business’s marketing strategies. Most of you know that you should have a social media presence, but some of you still may be wondering exactly why your business needs to incorporate it.
To help those still wondering, I have compiled a small list of reasons why integrating social media is in your business’s best interest.
- Visibility: social media is another way for your product to gain exposure. At the end of September 2012, there were over 1.01 billion active Facebook users. Holy smokes. It’s pretty simple—by excluding social media in your marketing efforts, your business is missing out on tons of potential customers!
- Build a sense of community: through social media, you are able to directly and constantly communicate with your customers. By engaging with customers, answering their inquiries, fixing their problems, their respect for your business will soar, and their likelihood to recommend increases, which means both new and repeat customers (yay!). You will feel more like their friend and less like a business.
- Develop your company culture: social media forces you to determine who you are as a company. It’s the perfect way to put a face on your business. Are you corporate? Funny? Friendly? You can almost guarantee people will look your business up on Facebook before making a big purchase, so you better hope you don’t rub them the wrong way.
- Basically, these pages act like review sites… and review sites matter. Like I said, consumers in the buying process will most likely look at your social profiles, especially if they’re unsure about you. If a customer expressed a concern, and you responded and quickly took care of it, they’re going to think, “Whoa dude, look at that customer service!” If someone shares an amazing experience they had at your store or with an employee, potential customers are going to see it and lean toward you as their company of choice. Social media is there to beef up your image!
- Monitoring: since your customers are, in short, writing reviews, social media offers an easy way to monitor how you are doing as a business. Is there a certain reoccurring service complaint? Now you know to fix it. Is there a product your customers are bashing? Toss it! These various outlets offer easier ways for your customers to commend you or rant about you, and these outlets offer an even easier way for you to use it all to your advantage!
Social media is such a great and, if done right, easy way to connect with current and future customers. There is no other medium that allows you to form relationships and consistently engage with the folks buying your products. The reasons behind implementing social media into your business plan are no-brainers—it’s the implementation itself that proves the hardest. Stay tuned for more on that later! Until then, take a look at where social media marketing is headed in 2013.