Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. Google+. LinkedIn. YouTube. Yelp. Reddit. These are some of the most famous and ubiquitous social media platforms on the Web.
But what do you think about when you mention those names? Do you immediately think when entering those sites that in searching for friends or seeking the scoop on the latest Kardashian gossip, you will view or read about some company or business? Of course not. Those sites have transformed followers and devotees into interactive participants who have transcended the common approach to communication and knowledge gathering, while learning about business and products without even realizing it.
As Marshal McLuhan said, “The medium is the message”. In the past, communication and information platforms were limited to newspapers, magazines, radio and TV. If one wanted to discontinue learning about a product or listening to an advertisement, one could simply turn the page, change the channel or turn off the radio or TV. But the Internet changed all that.
Today, consumers behave and receive information in remarkably new ways—a consumer deliberately chooses to engage directly with a site, controls the searching of information, and is engrossed in that process, without realizing in a significant way that information is being received not just directly but subliminally as well. Social media and business information have become merged into a single source, where few if any consumers “turn the page” or change to another “channel” merely because some business information is being communicated.
It is a business dream come true, where consumers crave information and connection, and remain on site, which allows full impact of business promotion. Switch from a site that is reporting on the break-up of a hot Hollywood couple just to avoid business advertising? Not gonna happen in today’s world.
This is one of the critical reasons why social media and businesses are perfect together!
In order to understand the critical importance of social media to new and established business enterprises, let’s start with the basics: Promoting and marketing a business or product through social media means the use of “activities involving social sharing of content, videos, and images for marketing purposes, as well as paid social media advertising”, http://www.wordstream.com/social-media-marketing . Other formats include blogs, wikis, discussion forums and social bookmarking. These activities facilitate both delivery of content and connection with consumers and stakeholders. This chart illustrates the “features, content, means, people and purpose’ of social media:
www.ejkm.com/issue/download.html?idArticle=680 (citing Jalonen, 2014:1377).
But what will using social media actually accomplish? A business can raise brand awareness, establish a brand identity and good will for the brand, enhance communication and interaction with defined market segments, and develop website traffic. http://www.wordstream.com/social-media-marketing
One analyst identified nine critical reasons a business should use social media marketing: (1) Direct contact and interaction with target markets, (2) Enhance responsiveness to consumers, (3) Keeping up with the competition on sites such as Facebook and Twitter because if you do not, the costs become prohibitive to catch up with the impact of competitors, (4) “People view Twitter and Facebook as social networks, not marketing machines. As a result, they’re less likely to see what you post as an advertisement and will be more likely to hear what you have to say”, (5) Sales, the lifeblood of any company, will increase, (6) You will develop new customers, (7) Customers you did not know will find you, (8) No cost and totally free to be on the Web, and (9) Companies start off on an equal basis where if you build a better more clever mousetrap, your name and sales can skyrocket into cyberspace. (http://www.contentfac.com/9-reasons-social-media-marketing-should-top-your-to-do-list/)
In a global economy, with electrifying changes in technology occurring daily, a company cannot afford to not be part of the social media and business revolution. The bottom line is—Social Media and Business are perfect together!