When done properly, social media is a great equalizer – one that minimizes the gap between small and large companies. It is a tool, along with a strong and properly optimized website, that gives even the smallest of businesses a huge chance to create a global presence.
But how can a small business promote just as effectively as a larger one? Consider the fact that the the internet has to date at least 3.17 billion users, 2.3 of which are on social media. Facebook’s website alone sees 1.65 billion monthly active users, and it’s making up almost a quarter of the internet time that Americans spend on mobile devices. However, we aren’t just talking about one nation when we say “social networking” – we’re talking about the possibility of marketing to millions, if not billions of people. With the rise of social media, even a small local business can utilize low-cost opportunities to create content and information that engages more potential customers than ever before.
Communication Has Evolved
Communication has evolved so much over the years, especially in the last century. It’s gone from word-of-mouth, to newspapers, to telephones, to TV, and so on.
Back in the 1970s, consumers either had to get up off their couch to switch the station, or ask their children to do it for them (a choice which was and still is quite cumbersome). The earliest of companies knew this and used it to their advantage by strategically placing entertaining advertisements in between commercial breaks targeted towards potential customers. Eventually came the remote control and companies had to work a bit harder to convince people not to switch channels, for example if their ads weren’t entertaining or visually appealing enough. Then came cable TV, a premium subscription service with the benefit of having no ads, and this, again, forced brands to work even harder and produce more entertaining ad campaigns.
These days, people have gone from surfing channels to streaming content from the internet. This has allowed today’s consumers to choose what they want to hear and watch. It has also made it much harder for brands to reach out to them through conventional means, this is where social media and brand identity comes in. Your brand now has to be chosen by the consumer, it has to be accepted, sought after even. Scott Cook, founder of Intuit once famously said, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.” Your target market needs to know who you are as a brand and what it is you stand for, and with social networks seeing as many as 176 million new users every year, social media is where your brand has to firmly establish itself to be seen.
The Power Of Word Of Mouth
In 2013, a Nielsen survey stated that “earning consumer trust is the holy grail” of a successful ad campaign. Furthermore, the survey found that 84 percent of its 29,000 responded believed that word-of-mouth recommendations were the most trustworthy source of information. Surely, you and your family have a favorite restaurant. You also brag about it whenever you can. You even recommend it to your friends and other acquaintances. Why? Maybe, because at one time or another, the restaurant’s owner took their time to listen to your feedback about how some of the dishes needed improvement, or even compensated your family for your troubles.
These are but a few of the reasons social media is the most effective platform today for strengthening relationships and trust in your brand.
What social media methods do you currently employ to stay relevant in today’s technologically connected world?