Generally speaking, corporate employers without much exposure to social media, tend to critique it as a “juvenile fad” without much professional application. However, as businesses have gradually started to experiment with marketing and networking over social media platforms in the past decade, those with exposure to social media know that these stereotypes are largely unwarranted and can substantially limit a business’s reach in today’s global economy.
Now more than ever, the success of a business is highly contingent on its ability to reach and appeal to a wide audience base. But can this goal really be achieved through local or regional, onsite, hands-on, face-to-face marketing? Possibly, although many businesses will likely find that such efforts will yield high costs with a debatably satisfactory return on investment. In other words, face-to-face marketing is not necessarily the most effective way to market one’s organization in today’s global economy (at least not upfront).
Sure, most businesses realize this and make it a point to establish a website, but for many, the reach ends there. And even if a business only has a website, how can they really hope to drive potential customers to the site without establishing some sort of prior knowledge through direct, face-to-face marketing?
This is where social media needs to intervene.
For those with any sort of rudimentary understanding of business and marketing, there is a common adage that states, “go where your customers are.” With today’s ever-increasing tech-savvy market, there is no doubt that the numbers of social media users are quite high and will only continue to increase for the foreseeable future. Plus (and this is really the catch), these users are readily accessible and are looking to establish connections online!
In today’s market, a website can no longer be an adequate solution to address the needs of a business’s customers. Whereas a website largely functions as a static, one-way venue for businesses to speak with customers, social media is all about conversing with your target market and allowing them to share in the communication process, interact with, and ultimately experience your business. Without a doubt, social media functions as one of the easiest ways to connect with a large number of customers and prospects, and engage in professional branding that is necessary for corporate growth. Not to mention, the advertising is substantially cheaper!
Granted, while the power of social media can be powerful if properly harnessed, often times it is misused. When a business seeks to use social media, it is vital that they understand the importance of establishing a loyal community. Social media cannot be used exclusively as a venue to sell. It must function first and foremost as an environment where other users feel valued and view your business as a trustworthy “friend.”
Employing the same logic that it would be ineffective marketing to walk into a crowded room and shout, “Hello everyone, buy my product,” using social media as a platform to saturate your audience with sales requests, is a guaranteed way to quickly lose your audience’s respect. All businesses SHOULD be utilizing social media, but the marketing needs to be quiet and subtle. Nevertheless, by going to your customers and establishing yourself as a trustworthy source, over time your customers’ sales will come to you, your credibility will increase, people will share their positive experiences with others, and your reach will exponentially grow.