The use of social media to promote a business is an idea that has become extremely popular in recent years. Businesses both big and small have been creating accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in the hopes that they can create a strong digital presence, one which will help to separate them from their competition. However, there are still many business owners that are hesitant to jump on board with the idea that social media platforms can be a useful marketing tool. I believe social media should have a place in every business’s marketing strategy. Therefore, I have listed a few basic points that should help business owners understand the benefits of social media as a marketing tool.
Social Media As A Word Of Mouth
As many business owners know, word of mouth is one of the most effective forms of marketing. No commercial or print ad can get through to a consumer as effective as a friend’s recommendation. Social media is simply word of mouth amplified in the digital world. One recommendation of someone posted on social media can reach hundreds or even thousands of people simultaneously. Businesses can use social media in a highly personal and effective manner, which will allow them to mirror the process of word of mouth.
Social Media Is Cost Effective
Social media campaigns can be much cheaper to create than television and print campaigns. Traditional media campaigns are becoming increasingly expensive to produce. Thirty seconds of ad space for a television campaign can cost a business tens of thousands of dollars. Even worse is that tools like Digital Video Recorders allow consumers of television content to fast forward through commercial segments, rendering a business’ television campaign useless. With social media, there is no fast forwarding. This means that a business can always benefit from maintaining a strong digital presence. If handled properly, social media campaigns can be a highly cost effective alternative to traditional media.
Social Media Provides An Open Discourse
One of the most beneficial aspects of social media, is that it allows for an open discourse to take place between business and consumer. Social media users are able to connect directly with a business and give positive, or negative, feedback about products, customer service or what they would like to see next from the business. When done correctly, this open discourse can aid in a business’ research and development and can be a great tool to assist in market research. Direct communication between a business and their consumers can also create a humanizing affect for the business/brand, making it more likely for consumers to be willing to interact with a social media account belonging to a business.
Social Media Can Build Communities
The goal of traditional media is to transcend the the limits of both space and time by disseminating information as quickly as possible, and to the largest number of consumers possible. Social media also shares this goal, however, social media is far more dynamic and flexible than traditional media. What this means, is that social media will allow a business to alter their content and messages instantly. A business can adapt to the desires and needs of their consumer audience. More specifically, a business can alter their content in a way that targets a specific demographic. In doing so, the formation of online communities are made possible. These online communities consist of like-minded individuals who are eager to connect with each other and businesses they are fond of. This is a remarkable way to receive feedback about your business directly from those who use your product or service.
The use of social media as a marketing tool is most definitely not a fad. If anything, the power of social media as a marketing tool can only develop further as social media platforms become more ubiquitous and user friendly. I believe that businesses both big and small need to consider adapting social media into their marketing strategies if they wish to stay relevant and find success in the future. If you are the owner of a business that does not currently have Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, then maybe it’s time you consider going online.