The Many Uses of Social Media for Businesses

Social networks have become a necessity for most Internet users. Every day, people use social media to exchange staggering amounts of information. Its allure becomes more unavoidable since many users can’t resist logging in to their account(s) whenever possible, using every device they could get their hands on – desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. As a result, many entrepreneurs now rely on the various uses of social media to meet business goals.

From both a normal user’s and a business person’s standpoint, social media consumption has truly changed the game. The facts are these:

•             One in every eight people on this planet is on Facebook (that’s 7 billion people divided by 845 million users).

•             YouTube gets over four billion page views every day.

•             Flickr users upload 3,000 images to the site every minute.

•             Twitter sees 175 million tweets per day, on the average.

•             Google+ holds the record of amassing more than 10 million users in just 16 days.

•             There are 39 million Tumblr blogs worldwide.

Furthermore, there’s a growing number of research that contextualizes social media habits of consumers. Case in point: iModerate Research Technologies commissioned consulting firm Chadwick Martin Bailey to survey 1,504 adults within the United States with regard to their social media behaviors. Results showed that over 50% of the respondents say they are more likely to buy or recommend products or services from brands engaging in social media. Also, a study by the Monsoon Marketing Group revealed that the average amount of marketing budget attributed to social media went from 9% in 2009 to 21% in 2012.

Social media for online contests and promos

Businesses can create a one-of-a-kind customer experience for their patrons through online contests and sweepstakes and at the same time build their brand. Carnival Cruise Lines recently launched a wildly successful social media campaign that helped them hit the 50,000 follower mark on Twitter and reached over 1.7 million “likes” on Facebook. They eventually generated returns due to the increased publicity gained from the campaign.

Social media for customer service

Vlad Shmunis, CEO of phone service provider RingCentral, highlighted the importance of using social media as a customer support system in a recent interview with Smart Business. “We are active in social media so we use Twitter. We use Facebook, our own website, anything we can to make sure that we’re not asleep at the wheel and that we’re still here,” he said. “These are people trusting us with their business, so time of response is extremely important,” he added.

Social media for community building

Social media-entrenched businesses can also get customers psyched about their product or service by building a community. In this day and age of streaming information, people tend to lose interest in things quickly. So how do you get a person excited about anything that’s so fleeting? For pop music arbiter Pitchfork Media, community means Twitter, where users and readers endlessly discuss the site’s latest reviews; or Spotify, another outlet where users can feed and pimp their music tastes to their Facebook friends. Pitchfork also periodically comes up with downloadable mixtapes and has hosted and sponsored a number of successful music festivals for its niche audience.

No matter which channel or platform companies use for their social media initiatives, everything still boils down to the foremost agenda of engaging customers online. After all, social media is still all about effective reputation management translated into lasting sales.