Social Media for Business
This graph was shared and re-shared on Google Plus and has been recirculating since then. It gives a powerful message about the instant popularity of Google Plus as a new social media contender to the dominant leader Facebook. A little Googling revealed that the graph depicting the fast rise of Google plus was actually built by Leon Haland as mentioned in an MSNBC article. The article seemed rightly titled, “Kickoff of Google+ stomps Facebook, Twitter”. Surpassing 15 million users in just 24 days proves the popularity and pervasiveness of online social media sites.
These days, besides email, an account on a popular social media site has become somewhat of a necessity. We no longer simply rely on communicating with others via just phone or email. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become the norm for many who want to keep abreast with the latest buzz.
The business world has naturally embraced social media to strengthen its brand image and recognition, reach customers, receive valuable feedback and maintain an active online presence. More and more businesses are using social media to engage with their target audience. It is a sensible business strategy as being on a different online platform (besides traditional company websites) that is already being used by just about everyone makes it more likely to increase exposure. Social Media goes beyond just providing exposure by allowing businesses to receive valuable feedback and be aware of what consumers are thinking in a easy and cost-effective way.
Why use Social media for business?
New media allows firms to have a wider reach like never before. Business presence on social media is also of great importance because if you won’t, somebody else will. This can be seen from two angles. One, firms must compete where other firms have a presence. Two, fans may create pages or groups on social media for a firm or product they admire. There has to be an official presence to take control of the brand image. Micro-blogging on social media can have far reaching implications for a business. According to the Social Media Marketing Report for 2010, a significant increase in web traffic is seen with little investment of time.
Businesses also need to keep track of how they are being talked about in the online world. Simple tools can help firms in being more aware. While Google Alerts can send you a daily digest email whenever your search terms come up in any news stories, blogs, etc.; Social Mention can monitor social media properties directly including: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google etc. Your mentions can be emailed directly to you everyday. It is also possible to conduct a Twitter search whereby real time information about what people are saying can be setup in Tweetdeck.
How Facebook and Twitter help achieve your marketing objectives
Social media offers great tools for customer service. Small businesses may particularly benefit from an integrated social media strategy. The right and targeted use of Facebook, Twitter and Google plus may remind customers about the company. They may compete effectively if they are able to offer superior customer service as a tool for competitive advantage. For example, a Facebook Page for the company may allow customers to ask specific product questions. Answering these customer queries demonstrates that the company cares and that it is readily available when needed. In addition, other customers may benefit from the conversations on the Facebook page. On the other hand, Twitter may prove to be an alternative medium to update customers about the latest deals.
While offering consultancy services to a local small business regarding the effective use of social media, it was observed that often small business owners may not have the right information about the dynamics of an effective social media strategy. They may not be aware of the power of social media in strengthening their company’s brand recognition. A positive PR in addition to the online social media presence proved fruitful for the business in increasing its sales.