Although social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have been around for less than a decade, it is difficult for most to imagine life before social media. When business owners, planners and markers look back over the past decade, they can easily recognize the massive impact that social media has had on the way companies conduct business. Because businesses have to consider the consumer, they must adapt to the needs and preferences of the consumer, and social media has completely changed how the consumer operates.
The term “social media” does not reflect the dynamic impact that these platforms have on the professional world. Professionals use these social sites for a multiplicity of reasons, such as networking, customer engagement and bringing team members together.
The Power of Social Media
Social media has established itself as a major influence in the world of business, having the power to drive industries. Those companies that are outdated and out of touch with the current business models find themselves falling further behind their competitors. Some businesses only see social media as a distraction that garners far more of their employees’ attention than they would prefer, but they fail to see how these platforms can help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of a number of their operational tasks.
Because social media plays such and integral role in the lives of the average consumer, it stands to reason that it will continue to be an essential part of conducting day to day business.
Leadership Must Evolve
CEOs, presidents and owners must be willing and capable of evolving to keep pace with this new business revolution. They must be willing to change their marketing and branding strategies. A 2013 study revealed that in excess of 80 percent of those who were surveyed agreed that it is vital for company leadership to interact on social media, there are numerous CEOs and company heads that refrain from interacting on social media. Because the company head is generally the one who guides the philosophy and vision of the company, it is paramount that they become visible to the community.
The expanse of the web has created a phenomenon in which transparency is expected by the consumer. The consumer has a need to connect and relate to a business. The best way to accomplish this is through interacting with the leadership of the company at some level. This helps to build the type of trust that will eventually lead to customer loyalty. Although many of the company heads that are resistant to interacting on social media are busy conducting business the traditional way — having face to face encounters with potential clients as well as networking within their community — they will soon realize that they are losing ground to their competitors that exploit the advantages of social media.
Business leaders that are more up to speed have not abandoned the personal engagement approach, but they have adopted a model that places significant emphasis on using social media. They are searching for mutual connections on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, as well as analyzing the metrics of their Twitter campaign.
This does not suggest that business leaders should abandon the more personal approach completely. Both personal engagement and interaction on social media have their advantages. It is having the ability to find the right balance between the two that will determine the success of any business.
As more consumers look to the internet to gain information about a business that they may be considering doing business with, it is vital that these businesses develop a social media presence to place themselves in the best possible position to engage these potential clients. Much in the way that retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy have been forced to keep pace with the forward thinking marketing strategies of Amazon, older businesses must also find ways to keep up with the models presented by the new generation of shoppers that are obsessed with social media.
Startups are Prevailing
Recent statistics reveal that startup businesses are some of the most successful businesses in the current economy. This is primarily due to the fact that new business owners are not inundated and weighted down by traditional thinking. They have done their research, and they understand the importance of social media. Instead of spending exorbitant amounts of money on prime time television ads, these companies invest in creating buzzes and trends on social media platforms.
These new business owners understand the importance of creating relevant quality content that will encourage likes and shares. They apprehend the power of the leverage that takes place when a post goes viral. The key is to get everyone talking about the brand, product or service.
In contrast to the high-dollar advertising budgets of previous generations, social media campaigns don’t require spending millions. For businesses that have the personnel to handle the campaigns in-house, the only costs are associated with the time it takes to manage the campaign. Once a buzz has been created, the customers will gravitate toward that page or profile. The key is to keep providing them with relevant content that they will find interesting and useful.
A Customer Driven Revolution
Customers are playing a crucial role in this new technology age. As businesses continue in their attempt to redefine themselves, they must be prepared to see the significance in social media engagement. This does not mean that a CEO must spend his entire day retweeting tweets from respected colleagues or posting their own insightful points, but it does mean that they must become aware of the significance of social media to the success of their company.
When business leaders are able to realize the value of social media in this new technology driven generation, they will be able to develop marketing and branding strategies that are highly effective. Those who are willing to acknowledge the power of social media to impact decisions will be better equipped to make the right decisions based on the numbers that are being presented.
There is no escaping the force of social media. As social media grows in power and influence in the business world, it will be vital for everyone in the company, from the CEO to the fresh new intern, to have a significant perspicacity of how social media will impact their role and responsibilities. Those who are able to effectively engage their target audience via social media will find themselves in the best possible position to ride the force of this revolution.