The Power of Social Media - Part 1
Over the past five years, social media has become one of the most talked about media platforms since the introduction of the Internet in the early 90's. In case you're not in the loop, social media is a variety of online venues that enable people to store and share information such as text, pictures, videos and links. This blog post will explore the many uses and benefits of social media in a two part series. Why? Well firstly, we don't want to keep you from lunch. Secondly, with over 3 billion users, social media has completely changed the way consumers, businesses and organizations use the Internet. Still not convinced? According to research firm Gartner, revenue from social media worldwide totalled to $10.2 billion in December 2011. This was a 41% increase from the previous year. If that isn't gob smacking enough, social media profits are predicted to grow to $29 billion by 2015 (cha ching!!).
Other than being a great source of revenue, social media is also a fantastic way for businesses to build strong relationships with customers. Some other key benefits of social media include:
- Direct traffic to your website
- Improved SEO and search rankings
- Organic word of mouth referrals
- Enhanced customer service
- Increased brand loyalty
- Ability to implement unique advertising and marketing methods
- Turning consumers into customer advocates
Sounds great right? So let's get started. First of all, you must be aware of the big players in social media. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest are social media platforms with the highest amount of users worldwide. Consumers use each of these platforms differently and businesses must be able to grab their attention sufficiently. Today, we explore Facebook and Twitter specifically.
Facebook is possibly the greatest way to communicate and get to know your customers and their preferences in real time. Facebook wall posts allow companies to have direct contact with their customers (aka fans). This is an effective way to acquire instant customer feedback regarding products and services. Companies can also use Facebook to engage and attract customers through unique marketing methods. For example, instead of using Facebook to only promote your product, companies can host a giveaway. Fans not only have the opportunity to win something, they also have a reason to engage with the company page regularly. This could be a simple competition such as "like this post and go into the draw to win" or it could be a one that calls for more creativity such as a photo contest (i.e. the best caption wins a prize!). Competitions can also have a 'share' aspect, such as 'tag our company in your next status update to win!' This is an excellent way to gain organic word of mouth referrals. An example of a company that utilizes Facebook well is Urbanspoon. Having engaging wall posts, hosting occasional giveaways and interacting with fans regularly not only increases brand awareness and builds brand loyalty, it also allows companies to have prominent social media presence.
Twitter is the 'go to' social media platform when on the run. Twitter works as a status-only social media platform (only 140 characters allowed). Companies can use Twitter to post interesting links and facts relating to their industry as well as company updates such as: “Locating to a new office! Here's our latest blog article! Our intern just brought in muffins!” Twitter can also be used as an excellent direct traffic tool for your website, so it's important to post frequently. Lastly, Twitter is also a great way to respond to customer inquiries and questions. Be sure to reply within 48 hours though, Tweeters get pretty impatient!
Now that you are aware of how to utilize Facebook and Twitter effectively, stay tuned for our next blog post which will cover the other essential social media platforms. We will also identify how you can manage and optimize your social media strategy in less time than you think!
- Five things your company needs to know about Facebook Timeline for Brands
- The Power of Social Media - Part 2
- How to write a blog post (and improve your SEO ranking!)
- How to: Social Networking for Business | Part 1
- How to: Social Networking for Business | Part 2