While the many businesses which feel that utilizing social media for company promotion and expansion of market reach is a total waste of time are justified in doing so—social media at present is overrated—there is no denying the fact that the importance of social networking sites in businesses is growing tremendously. It offers a quick, far-reaching, and affordable supplement to your traditional marketing strategies, and can update your followers in real time.
Whether you own a small to mid-sized business—an online jewelry shop, a local tavern, or a grocery store—or a big business—a fast food chain, a news agency, a nationwide-coverage phone service provider in the size of RingCentral—you can have access to social media, which makes it a great equalizer. In this sense, social media can empower businesses, especially the SMBs.
A little caveat: any business that utilizes social networking sites must understand this is just a first step necessary to grab the attention of potential clients. It cannot be the be-all and end-all of a company’s marketing strategy. Having established an initial contact or relationship with the intended audience, it is the business’ responsibility to follow up on this contact and develop relationship with the potential client.
Social media can serve as a recommendation engine, a thing that has more power to influence opinion than the usual search engines. By employing the power of suggestion of friends, associates, and relatives, social networking sites can easily catch the attention of like-minded persons because of the relevancy of these associated persons’ opinions to their own.
While many companies are able to use the various business opportunities opened up to them by the social web, there are also companies who fail to use them to their maximum potential. A deep understanding of the potentials of social media and the specific needs of your business make for success in online marketing. To illustrate, Google+ registers 5 million hits of the “+” button every day, while 625,000 people join this social networking sites. Businesses that utilizes Google+ with the “+” button increased their website traffic by 350 percent.
Social media is also an effective way to empower your employees. Rather than restricting online hours of your staff for fear of information leak and threats of libel suit, you must encourage your employees to become brand advocates for your company.
Of course, social networking sites are more than just a platform in which you can increase your company’s visibility; it can also become a dynamic tool to make potential client more engaged with your business and keep their interest on your products and services. The sheer extent of the influence of social media alone should be enough to astound you. Facebook to date has more than 800 million users while Twitter has over 200 million accounts.
You can also use social media as a venue where you can launch an active community where people of like interests can share opinions, gather information, and promote their own advocacies. You can also use social aggregators, which are great when it comes to starting viral distribution of contents, still attract a great horde of followers.
While social media cannot replace your traditional marketing strategies that have been proven very effective in luring in potential customers, this new and alternative business tools may prove to be an indispensable part of your business operations.