It is apparent that social media has grown dramatically over the last few years and that using over 800 million active users, the number of Facebook users is easily over double the magnitude of the whole population of the United States!
Its expansion has been astronomical and today, millions of people are posting more personal and business information online than ever before. It is happening at lightning pace with tens of thousands of articles, tweets, and uploads happening every hour.
1. Seek first to know – It is quite important that you understand the fundamentals of how exactly is social media actually works and how it’s being used. What are people and businesses doing with social websites? What makes the results? A number of you might be thinking, how do I do so? Maybe you could look at trying it out for yourself by setting up a personal account, then testing a few of the features, or get a trusted friend to show you their account and guide you through. Alternatively, there are many tools and ‘how-to’ items online about social media, that you could run a search on Google or YouTube on a specific subject of interest and watch the video tutorials to get educated.
2. Know your purpose – what’s your purpose is for using social networking? What do you expect to accomplish for your business by utilizing it? You must recognize your purpose for getting involved in social networking (or any other marketing activity for that matter). You need to work out why you’re taking part. What should you expect to achieve? Do you merely wish to build brand awareness, participate with your clients or identify new sales opportunities? Remember to be realistic about what you think you will have the ability to achieve.
3. In case you decide to take part in social media, which sites are most suitable for you? – With the plethora of social media websites available, which ones are best for your business? Consider where your target audience would socialize online, and think about the quantity of resources and time you would realistically be able to devote to maintaining and administering your website presence. Which ones are right for you? You may discover that a number of a better fit than others.
4. Quality Content – Should you decide that social media is right for your business, carefully consider the amount and quality of information that you need to share in the online sphere. Remember it will likely remain there for quite a while, so you have to be certain it accurate and reliable information that is valuable to your intended audience. It needs to be relevant, otherwise, people are not going to read it.
There are a host of motives for participating in the social networking community including:
- It’s cost-effective. Many reports on several different social networking sites are free to set up.
- Huge global audience.
- Enables you to obtain feedback in real-time and communicate with customers in real-time.
- Provides your business with an additional marketing channel, to raise the awareness of your product, brand, or business.
However social media does pose some obstacles for businesses that need to be quantified:
Time and Resources – you must be willing to devote the time needed to think of fresh new content. So it is very important to consider whether you’ve got sufficient time and the resources to efficiently manage your social networking presence.
Handing over brand management – You hand over a number of the charge of your marketing efforts and effectively your brand to your target audience. They are going to have the ability to comment on posts or other content and you have to be prepared for both negative and positive remarks. However even when you’re not administering a business Facebook page, it’s important to remember that there is nothing to prevent customers from submitting comments on their own sites or other public forums about your products and services. Find out more about Facebook advertising services right here.
Measuring ROI – The introduction of internet monitoring and analytics tools also brought with it the ability to more easily measure the success of certain online marketing and advertising campaigns. However, the nature of social media means that you might not necessarily have the ability to see the results of your campaign straight away. Your social media efforts might permit your consumers to ask additional questions or additionally engage with your brand or product, but like many other relationship-building activities, it takes time to build brand loyalty and repeat sales, it is likely your social media activities will not have a direct effect on earnings that may be easily quantified, there might be a lag.
Social media, how is it being used?
If it comes to consumer adoption, the increase of social networking sites has become more cohesive, however as more research has been done regarding website usage and customer behavior, we begin to gain insights into the sorts of tasks and transactions people engage in when seeing social networking sites. The top three reasons identified in the Sensis Social Media Report, for utilizing a social networking website were:
1. To catch up with friends and loved ones.
2. To discuss photographs and videos.
3. To co-ordinate parties and other shared activities.
As we could see from these survey results, people continue to be predominately using several of these websites for the basic reason that they were created. I.e. To “socially” interact with their community of family, friends, or peer group. I am not suggesting that we ignore the fact that 15% of those respondents did indicate that they use social networking websites to discover about particular brands or businesses, or there are some excellent case studies where effective social media campaigns are launched using Facebook or Twitter, however, I believe it’s important for us to keep things in perspective and understand just like conventional types of marketing and advertising, social networking marketing needs include the fundamental elements of any fantastic campaign for it to succeed. We need to bear in mind that many of the very same rules apply online as they do offline.
Additional study findings appear to imply that it is still more typical for a user to search a company website when making a purchasing decision than on ‘enthusiast pages’ and a company website provides a more influential source of information. “It seems that only about a third of respondents acknowledge they are affected in their buying decision by fan pages while almost half say they seem to company websites rather.”
It seems social media is here to stay, and that the Web 2.0 revolution and the Internet will continue to evolve, shaping the way we communicate and do business. There are clear indicators that customers are now much more empowered to use the online world to voice their concerns, preferences, and needs. This makes it increasingly important for businesses to determine strategies to react to these evolving customer relationships to capture these markets and opportunities.