What is Social Media?
Since the beginnings of the World Wide Web, people have used it communicate and interact. Over the last 15 years, we have seen a growth in the creation and popularity of certain types of sites. It was given the name social media because of how users engage with it in a social context, which can include conversations, commentary, and other user-generated annotations and engagement interactions.
It has been an effective tool and reason for the growth in the publishing of content by individuals, bloggers, businesses and news entities. Anyone can easily create content on a rapidly growing number of platforms and promote them through the use of social media.
The real excitement, and justification for the buzz it receives lies in the opportunity to grow lasting and scalable relationships with your organization’s customer base through social media. It is a more direct way to interact with your customers. Your customers are having conversations relevant to your operations and you should be listening…and participating.
No matter the size of your business, your customers are online. They are interacting within these social networks with their friends, colleagues, and other brands in search of information, recommendations, and entertainment. If your company is not taking the opportunity to respond, your competitor will be more than happy to speaking directly to your potential customer and anyone else listening.
Social Media is providing opportunities for:
- Advocacy – It shows that your brand is doing such an amazing job that your customers shout about your brand from rooftops, sharing their opinions and experiences with their networks. That sharing is the best marketing a brand can ask for.
- Relationships – The relationships built with customers are the foundations upon which other aspects of your business can and will flourish. The relationships you build with your customers lead to advocacy and loyalty, traits that can support your brand during both the good and the bad times, representing an investment that will remain strong on nearly any platform and under nearly any circumstances.
- Feedback – Social media can become an invaluable source of insights and feedback. Incorporating social listening into product development work can act as an early warning system, save on customer service costs, provide valuable development feedback, and even help identify ideal beta testers without much expense.
- Integration – Social media creates a cohesive and scalable experience for your customers as part of your complete marketing mix. If a social presence is clear from the start, your branding will benefit from additional customer touchpoints, PR will see a lift in impressions and reach, and customer service can proactively listen and activate where necessary.
Social media is about conversations, community, connecting with the audience and building relationships. It allows the individual to not only interact with their connections, but with companies, celebrities and every day common people on the trending topics of the day. Companies need to be ahead of the curve and active so that they remain relevant with their customers. Because their competition is…