It began with MySpace and grew quickly into Facebook. Almost overnight it seems, walls aren’t things made from bricks and newsfeeds don’t come from the radio. Around the time your kids started counting their Friends in definitive numbers and tweeting was something grown men did in their lunch breaks, social media took the internet marketing world by storm. Here, in our first double-length article to wrap up our series on Online Marketing, we discuss social media. Did you miss our discussion on Search Engine Optimisation last week? No worries, it’s right here.
Why is social media such a big deal?
Social media changed the way that brands connect to the customer. Previously, any broadcast communication was a one-way street with the brand in control of the message. The message was delivered through set channels like television or newspapers that charged a lot of money for it. Social media made it possible for customers to broadcast their message back to the company and for messages to be delivered outside of any channels. Instead they were spread from person to person… all for free.
What’s more, social media channels are growing in importance while traditional media channels are losing their audience. Less people are watching television and instead turning to their laptops for entertainment, including an average of 45 minutes every day on Facebook alone. Social media is here to stay.
Social media provides the following benefits for online marketing campaigns:
Two Way Conversations
Businesses receive an instant closer connection to their customers with social media because the platform allows customers to talk back. While many still prefer to use the traditional way, some studies suggest that more and more people are becoming comfortable with the idea of using social media to reach out to their favourite brands.
Potential for Massive Exposure for Free
Along with social media came the buzzword ‘viral’. When something goes ‘viral’ it means it is shared through a person’s social connections then on to another person’s social connections and so on until hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions, of people have seen it. The ‘thing’ that is shared could be a picture or a video or a news story. That sort of exposure was impossible without big publicity stunts and lots of money prior to social media. Every business wants to design a ‘viral’ campaign and use humour, feel good emotions or shock to do it.
‘Liking’ or ‘Following’ a person or business through Facebook and Twitter allows businesses to stay in touch with their customers without clogging up their inboxes or constantly calling. Connecting with a customer through a social media platform is a relatively easy way to keep in touch and get your brand front and centre.
Have you connected with any businesses or celebrities on Facebook, Twitter or Google? What made you want to connect with them? How often do you see information about them on your ‘newsfeed’?
Next up! The most important thing to remember about social media and how you can utilise it to help your business.