With people spending ever-increasing amounts of time on the internet, it is imperative that businesses establish an efficient and creative online presence. One way businesses can achieve this is to use social media. Social media websites like Facebook and Twitter are huge right now. They were originally intended as a way for people to connect with family and friends, but over recent years these platforms have become an invaluable method for businesses to promote their products and services, and create good relationships with their customers. The old ways of advertising have gone the way of the 8-track tape: to reach the masses now, businesses must adapt to social media websites.
While it’s good that businesses are realising the potential for social media to increase sales and improve customer relations, many are clueless as to how to make it work successfully. It’s true that these sites are user-friendly and require little technical knowledge to operate, but from a business standpoint, they have to be used properly to be effective and worthwhile.
One of the biggest issues businesses have with social media is that they forget it was originally intended as a way for people to interact with one another over the topics and information that matter most to them. Social media was made for people, not business. When a company decides to present itself on a social media website, it must remember that it is treading on the consumer’s turf and should conduct itself accordingly. It’s not about how many products can be promoted, but more about listening to customers’ needs and really hearing what they have to say. Companies must provide a truly unique social media experience if they expect customers to return and be responsive to their campaigns.
Frequently business owners will attempt to take on the social media aspect of advertising by themselves to save money. After all, how hard can it be, and Facebook is free, right? The truth of the matter is, conducting a successful social media campaign takes time and effort. The old saying, “time is money” couldn’t be truer in the world of social media, because not only does it take a lot of time to set up, but if not done correctly, a campaign will fall flat. Gaining followers who turn into potential clients requires a certain finesse, so it is highly recommended that a company hires an experienced social media manager.
Another reason businesses struggle with social media is because they tend to emulate other brands already on the web. What works for one company isn’t necessarily going to work for the next. It’s important to build a unique brand and be a leader in the industry rather than riding the coattails of another. You are the creator of your own community and your customers look to you. Brian Solis, from iStrategy, explains concisely, “Social media is a blank canvas. Create your own masterpiece.”
Social media is definitely the future. The possibilities are endless and the results can be truly astronomical when a company embraces social media as part of its advertising campaign.
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