Social media can be leveraged to help your business if you know how to utilize it correctly. All mid to large companies are implementing social media into their marketing platforms, the real frontier is small “brick and mortar” businesses. These businesses are the last to realize the immense advantage a great social media campaign can bring.
Active Vs. Passive Marketing
Social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google Plus have grown at astounding rates in the last few years and in my opinion the primary reason is because it turns the average person browsing the web from a passive audience (think reading the news) to an active participant (think posting photos of your puppy). This same switch from passive to active can be done to help your business grow. Social media allows your business to play an active role in your current and future customer’s lives.
Turn Customers into Advocates
By using social media to broadcast new products, events and to interact with your customer base you put a face and a personality to your business that you couldn’t otherwise do. You can engage with people real time, answering questions and responding to comments. Building a fan base instead of a customer base psychologically changes the way a person views a company or a product. They become emotionally invested in the company and/or product and in a nebulous sense see it as an extension of themselves (much like a fan of a sports team). Connecting on a deeper level promotes emotional investment from your customer base and leads them to share your product through posts, likes, tweets, +1’s, etc.
Utilize the Billions on Social Media Platforms
A huge advantage to social media is the vast quantity of people at your fingertips. There are numerous ways to increase your fan base in each specific social media platform. Once this is done you can drive traffic from the social media platform to your company’s website, increasing the chances of a sale or interaction. When someone interacts with your business through social media, their friends will likely see that interaction, continuing on an expanding web of advertising for your business. Most companies I know get a substantial amount of their online visitors through social media.
If You’re Not Doing It, You’re Handicapped
You can bet that your competitors are utilizing social media to promote their business and if you’re not, you are at a distinct disadvantage. This commonly applies for smaller mom and pop establishments, where the difference between a great social media presence and none at all can and likely will mean a huge difference in your bottom line. So the fact of the matter is, if you don’t use it, you’re losing out on a big slice of the pie.
A recent survey by the Harvard Business Review breaks down how businesses use and plan forward with their social media strategy. Of 2100 companies that were surveyed only 12% believe they are using social media effectively to gain customers and engage with their audience base.
One of the biggest challenges noted is to define what benefits an active and well thought out social media campaign will bring to one’s business. There is a lot of ambiguity as to how it impacts customer relations, sales, brand perception and more. Most of the advanced companies will have a full out strategy to engage with their current customers and potential customers. Social media is no longer a one sided conversation where products are pushed without any conversation. How is your business stacking up?
Do you have any other suggestions? Have you found certain social media platforms better than others? Let me know in the comments below!