I have lived year 2010 entirely on Social Media, I have hosted around 20+ events in Asia on Social Media and for historic evidence all are accessible via press releases, photos, videos and blog posts on the web. Thanks to Social Media for offering a platform to create the business transparency. A lot has been said about how social media is the new and revolutionary way of selling ideas products and services. Predictions have been made by several Social Media Strategists for the coming year. Yes, I agree Social Media is certainly one of the most important and effective opportunity available on the internet today. Therefore, based on my experience I thought it is essential to review the kind of opportunities it provides to people, products and services. Additionally, how it can impact any one of those aspects as a brand.
1. Mass Attraction: Social media allows you to speak to a larger audience all at the same time. This means that a single idea can now be communicated to a larger target audience effectively, conveniently and cost effectively. Additionally, with the advent of access to social media on phones, the audiences have just become much bigger than when it was just available online. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are few quick options that can be used to attract masses and communicate with many users at the same time. Unlike traditional promotions, brands here can observe the reactions and responses of the people. To some extent they can also evaluate the viral reach of their powerful social media strategy.
2. Interaction With Users: Social Media is not just about observing reactions and responses, it also allows intervening with them. Social Media offers the opportunity for brands and brand owners to directly interact with its audiences. This is a priceless opportunity to get access to that kind of interaction and keeping the target audiences engaged on how and which direction to grow in.
3. Building Self Image: Most big names and products turn to social media to announce changes, voice opinions, and sometimes even take political stands. Personal Branding is a very crucial aspect of Social Media. Many actors, celebrities, business person, politicians use Social Media to build their image and create a positive impact in the online communities. If you are a small business owner you may want to leverage social media at personal level, create your brand by adding value to the information ecosystem and simultaneously talk about the product or services you offer.
4. Influencing Decision Making: Most people that make decision on products and services that they want to buy, today, look for reviews and opinions online. Research indicates that users prefer peer reviews to advertisements while making decisions on whether to invest or not on products or services. Facebook with its ‘Like’ feature is a great option to use that blatantly increases a brand or persons personality instantly.
5. Word of Mouth Marketing: Word of Mouth is the most trusted way to increase popularity of a products or services. Even before the advent of social media advertisers have always underlined the importance of word of mouth marketing. Imagine in the past, when people used to share information about a product it use to be verbally done thus enhancing word of mouth promotion. Today, because of Social Media people update their status messages on Facebook and Twitter and assist word of mouth promotion to a large audience in fraction of seconds. Similarly, in the past peer or family decision was important to buy a product but today there are immense review sites, personal reviews on blogs that helps a customer decide what to buy and what to avoid as per the world’s experience.
6. Instant Gratification: Social media provides an opportunity for instant gratification to both buyers and sellers. It encourages two-way communication that other forms of media do not offer. For instance, if an actor writes a blog, the actor’s fans can immediately comment on the blog and might even receive an instant response if the actor is online and has read the comment. This ensures that the interaction is instant and therefore more pleasurable. Unlike other communication options that are usually one-way communications. In case of brands that are running large community dispersing information becomes easier than undergoing the long process of traditional advertising formalities.
7. Creative Platform to Offer Information: Social media offers a creative platform to provide information. The kind of platform that is relatively less expensive, yet more effective. With the advent of new technology on a daily basis, the platform social media provides is becoming more and more dynamic. When one feels that social media has been pushed to its limit, yet another brand or person shows how it can be used much more differently. The evolution of media started with networking, turning to marketing and probably a strong business model in the future. Business can upload creative videos to the video search engines (youtube, vimeoh), can create compelling contents on blog and slideshare, engage the community on Facebook and target prospect using LinkedIn and Twitter. There are immense ways that one can use to engage audience on social media. Since this is only an evolving platform, it carries the promise to shock users even more in the future.
8. Historic Evidence of your Activities: One of the biggest problems with traditional media is that its shelf life is considerably small. Meaning that, the information communicated comes with an expiry date, and then the information becomes obsolete and disappears. Social media, however, retains old information and then builds on it. This means that if one needs to check on information that was previously communicated, it is available and easily accessible to all. Every promotion that you avail via Social Mediaplatforms remains intact and grows powerful with time (in case of videos, blog posts and presentations on Slideshare). Social Media retains your communication for historic evidence that helps you prove that your brand is not new! It’s a storytelling board.
9. Managing Brand Reputation: Online Reputation Management is an important term that is associated with Social Media today. People find it easy to crib about their problems associated with brand on Social Media to create a negative impact about the brand and also obtaining public sympathy who have undergone same. Many brands do not really worry about this situation but a negative word of mouth about a brand goes much viral than a positive statement about it. With the advent of technology there are various listening tools available on web that allows brand to listen to what consumers are talking about them on Social Media. Brands can easily listen to them, engage with them and build an effective two ways communications thus offering a ear to their problems, solve it and turn negative statement into positive.
10. Evaluating & Acquiring Talents: Today’s hiring industry has located a new sense of relief by discovering the effective uses of social media in their recruitment process. Gone are those days when recruiter and job seeker had to go for a lengthy tedious process to finalize the deal. Today 75% of the work can be taken place with the help social network sites like Twitter and Linkedin. Corporate giants like Apple and Microsoft are using Twitter to evaluate and acquire young talented and also promising individuals for their job vacancies. Similarly, companies are finding it much easier to post an opening on LinkedIn and obtain updated LinkedIn profile as resume. Today, HR companies can evaluate a reach, personality, talent and popularity of and individual by exploring and evaluating their Social Media accounts.
11. Explore Collective Intelligence: Collective intelligence is otherwise called as group intelligence, which appears from collaboration and competition of many individuals. And in the new media i.e. social media is often associated with the promotion and enhancement of exploring collective intelligence in a community. Many businesses today runs on collective intelligence model where the ideas of the community is leveraged to fulfill the customer’s needs. Collective Intelligence at a brand level is used to test opinions, obtain novel idea and clarify concepts.
12. Online Office & Collaboration Zone: Setting up a Social Media account for brand is equal to have a virtual office set. The benefit of this virtual office is you can collaborate with stake holders, well wishers, customers, prospects, alumnus and media person under one roof. Many companies today use Web 2.0 platforms to use it for project management and engage employees for easy communication. Platforms such as basecamp, project2manage etc helps in setting up a virtual office for proficient productiveness. At Echovme (Digital Marketing Company) we make use of closed Facebook group in order to engage with the team that works from different parts of the country. Enables u to share the project report, group chats and keep the track of the work status.
13. Consumer Insights: Consumer insight is one of the most important reasons many big brands today use Social Media. Even if brands are not willing to establish themselves on Social Media platform, they can still make use of Social Media to avail consumer insights. Consumers openly discuss their opinions about a brand or their services and products on this platform. Businesses can employ listening tools in order to listen to customer opinion, trends and make a critical analysis of the same to sharpen their market intelligence acumen. Social Media helps in cultivating research costs as it freely avails you platform to observe conversations.