Could you imagine living in a world without social media?
Could you imagine living in a world without social media? Do you really remember what life was like before social networking and digital marketing took over the world? Today many of us can’t fathom living without it, especially for business.
Savvy businesses – regardless of size – are investing more time and money in social media marketing as an additional marketing medium. We have access to massive markets, marketing intelligence, brands built by consumers and fan-generated awareness. Breaking news, blogs, discussions forums, online review sites and an infinite amount of information from multiple outlets and search engines are all at our fingertips. The availability of social media and mobile technology has changed the way we communicate and the way we do business. Social media can benefit an organization in so many ways – from pitching products in a more interactive, personal way and establishing thought leadership, to strengthening customer service and conducting market research.
As we all know, marketing can be on the shakiest ground when an organization faces an economic downturn. Yet as we get closer to the end of the year and possible budget cuts or reorganizations, journey with me to a world without social media:
You have to rely on your memory and very close interaction to maintain your network. You carry your network of friends, family and business colleagues in your head, in a little black book, in a cell phone (with an analog screen and no camera – you don’t need a camera phone since you can’t share your images in this world) or an overstuffed Rolodex filled with nondescript business cards.
Building relationships and acquiring leads from anywhere in the world is pretty expensive because you might have to travel thousands of miles to the latest and greatest industry event to expand that network. You can’t present yourself, your company or your brand as much more than a brick-and-mortar organization with office-bound executives calling the shots. Want to convey fun? Want to speak to the people? Want to be the thought-leader in your industry? Good luck, because now you have a collection of brochures to engage your prospects and make your company sound great – and that’s not good for the environment, is it?
As a consumer, you wanted to shout from the hills about a product or service. But all you can do is yell at the TV, radio, newsletter or brochure! As a business, you may be aware of the mumblings from consumers who either love or despise your services – but no one has an online megaphone to tell you what they think. Your brand is possibly tainted because customer service is handling any issues offline and not proving to the Internet that you care. Focus groups are pretty costly and since you don’t really know your customer base that well, and they’re difficult to reach, it’s difficult to gather and study those insights. So instead of having a big hit product in bright yellow, you have an okay product in hot pink because you waited a year for marketing research to tell you how you were doing.
Ready to come back to the real world yet?
Social media is a key player in building a business and a brand that’s customer-centric. Customers gather on your website, social networks, on the phone and at the point of sale. Adding social media to your corporate process affords your company the ability to listen, respond, change directions and act quickly. Think about the impact it has on your business.
Keep living in the world of social media, and take advantage of it.