A great insight – for all social media virgins. Especially for those small businesses who have not made the leap into the digital world… As a bit of an expert myself on the use of social media for business, I have come to realise that the digital age, which most of us have submerged ourselves into, is the only way forward for business success. Without it you are a sinking ship.
1: The benefits of social media & marketing for business.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Helps target audiences/prospective clients more effectively. For example, Twitter and Facebook provide tools, which help a business target their key audience. For instance, a business page on Facebook has the option to boost their page to target a specific audience. If their business is mainly in the USA and UK they have the option to select these countries alone. The length of time a business can run a paid ad is solely up to the business concerned. They can select how much they want to pay and how long to run the ad. Facebook will send this ad out to their client’s targeted audience, which the client would have selected. (The nextweb.com reveals there are 1.19 billion active users on Facebook) The benefit of this social media ad comes in several forms; more page likes, therefore more impressions (the more impression the further up the Google search engine a company will climb). Making it easier for people to find that particular business. More page likes brings more sales. Most people won’t click on a business page if they are not interested in the product. A business can share content easier and faster with social media, although businesses need to be aware their media contents aligns to their brand and interests their audiences.
Sean Gardner (@2morrowknight) reportedly stated, “Social media is not an activity: it is an investment of time and resources. Surround yourself with people who not just support you and stay with you, but inform your thinking about ways to WOW your online presence.”
Example of a Twitter feed for business:
Example of a business page for Facebook:
Social media plays a significant role in modern day life. It is important for any successful business to have an online presence. A Google study revealed that 97 percent of consumers use the web to search for local businesses, that fact alone reveals the importance of social media for business and marketing.
(Leena rao @leenaro) posted six case studies on July 2010 on techcrunch.com, showing the changing world of social media for business. One of these cases by University of Maryland revealed, social media adoption by smaller businesses had doubled in one year from 12 percent to 24 percent.
Five years on, these statistics have increased at an alarming rate. The world has become a smaller place and more accessible for all due to the power of the Internet. Businesses all over the world can now extend their reach far easier than ever before and identify with customers they were unable to before.
When talking about advertising through Facebook, ( Mark Zuckerberg) says that, “Advertising works most effectively when it’s in line with what people are already trying to do. And people are trying to communicate in a certain way on Facebook – they share information with their friends, they learn about what their friends are doing – so there’s really a whole new opportunity for a new type of advertising model within that.”
Basically, you can tailor your marketing strategy to specific sites users are already using. Knowing your audience and keeping them interested is key. Find out what they are searching for, make it easy for users to find you. Facebook will increase your audience without a shadow of a doubt, how a business approaches this new audience will be the difference between like or unlike…
There are many apps available for businesses today. These help businesses communicate the right kind of content to their targeted audience, such as, Hootsuite, Roundteam and Gremln. These apps enable a company to operate their business 24/7 with minimal input even while they sleep. Gremln is an online virtual assistant. A company can preload their romotional tweets onto a calendar and schedule them to run hourly for up to six months or even a year. This is an app that manages your twitter feed for business. (According to Statista.com, Twitter has over 307 million active users). Roundteam offers a time-saving solution for all businesses. Enabling the user to engage with their followers and increase their twitter presence without being on line. They eliminate spam and bring quality content to their feed. Business buddies can help each other a great deal with Roundteam, by adding said business friends to a list on their Roundteam app and sharing each other’s business with each of their follow lists. Increasing their reach, gaining more followers, which ensures new interest in their business.
During the last five years APPS for social media have become increasingly useful to both Business and consumers alike. Apps are supremely intelligent and act as a personal assistant for any overloaded business. Their ease of use make them attractive for any user seeking to better manage their time.
Time management has always been problematic for employers. The development of APPs for social media has helped to ease this burden for businesses. Leaving them more time to tackle other important key areas of their business day.
APPS are still in their infancy and some businesses have not yet embraced this new idea for business. APPS have the potential to completely change the way business operate, from managing remote work forces and include, powerful and effective sales tools, lone worker tracking, data collection and so much more. APPS are an addition to a business workforce, enabling any business worth its salt to conduct their online presence with the utmost efficiency. A great example of this is Indie authors and traditional authors alike. Twitter is enveloped with authors, you only have to read their twitter feeds to see how much they have embraced APPs for their business. Their tweets are tailor made, with a one line excerpt from their novel and complete with an uploaded image of their book cover. The tweets included hashtags # such as, #readersoftwitter, #booklovers, and so on. They are clearly targeting their audience. Another thing I noticed was how authors of different genres target their key audience with hashtags like, #romcom #militaryromance #suspense and #horror thus ensuring their tweets target the right readers for them. The author’s tweets were occasionally sent out by Roundteam or Hootsuit an APP for social media mentioned above. The retweets they received were phenomenal, these retweets by their followers further extends their reach and gains them new followers, which in turn will lead to new readers. That is one example of how twitter is working for business alongside Facebook. It’s clear that in this digital world businesses must adapt to change to progress further in their field.
(Authors: Frederica Pascucci and Sarah Bartoloni) wrote an interesting paper for the 13th International conference for business and economic development In the ecosystem of digital environments, the new communication policies of Inbound Marketing allow companies to reach their customers in a more effective way (Halligan and Sheh, 2010). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271763615_Branded_apps_
It is clear that since mobile phones are definitely an extension of the consumer, APPS are the channel for marketing and promotion for the future. Businesses that are not yet on board with this idea soon will be as they fight for a place to assert themselves in this digital age.
Examples of marketing App Hootsuite for Twitter:
3: Choice of social media channel and why?
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the social media channels of choice for most businesses in this digital age. Facebook is rated as the channel of choice according to Infographic.
Facebook is also considered the most viable platform at 49 percent which is in front of Twitter at 12 percent and LinkedIn at 16 percent. The hard-sell approach to marketing in this digital age is dead. People like to engage, leave reviews and comment on Facebook business/fan pages. This is a great approach for a good business who cares about their customers. The business can in turn engage with their customers, pay attention to the feedback and respond accordingly, thus improving their business. The potential customer reach is huge with Facebook, they are the most active social media platform with the most active users. This platform out performs the rest and at 49 percent of the market share this is the best choice for business. A study conducted by Marketwired.com revealed consumers are searching social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter in growing numbers. 31 percent report checking into Facebook Fan pages and Twitter feeds for retailers.
(Author: Brittney Helmrich, Business News Daily Staff writer March 10th 2015)
Confirm that Facebook is the largest social media platform available for business. Also, confirming that it is inarguably the most versatile.
Choosing the right platform for business is as crucial as choosing the right employee. There are many forms of social media platforms available for business marketing, however, not all platforms will be suitable. Whether a business chooses one of, or all of, the following platforms, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, the end game will be the same, tailoring your platform and targeting the right audience for your business. Some business will not fare well on Instagram for instance, due to its young users. If your target audience is 35-50 year-olds, then Instagram is not the right platform. Research is key; a business needs to observe their competition on each platform and see what types of business are doing well on each platform. Why is said business doing well? What is their approach? Study their business page and read their customers responses. Does said business respond frequently to their customers? All these things matter to perform well on social media as a business. People share content everywhere today. If a customer is not happy they may well share this with their friends and colleagues on whatever platform they are operating from.
An example of the top ten businesses that totally rock customer service on social media:(Author: Brittney Helmrich, Business News Daily. http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7578-social-media-customer-service.html
Airasia, Nike, Seemless, Shutterstock, Starbucks, T-Mobile, Walmart, Wholefoods and Xbox.
All these companies have mastered their stage settings and chosen their social media platforms well.
4: Customer behaviour
A metamorphosis has taken place over the last decade. Customers traditionally would visit their local town or city to make their purchases. However, this has all changed. The internet phenomenon exploded and took over the world, changing the way the world executes their business. Changing times means change in the way businesses operate. According to Quaro.com many companies missed the boat when they did not embrace the internet for business. Examples of these are listed below:
In this digital age it is almost impossible to run a successful business without embracing the internet. Customers want and expect diversity. They want the choice of whether to go out to a shopping center or shop on line in the comfort of their own home. Businesses need to consider all their customers, pensioners, disabled, BFPO to name a few and bring their business into the customers’ home. On a sub-zero day most potential customers will opt for arm-chair shopping to purchase their goods. According to a 2006 study conducted by research firm ACNielsen, roughly 10 percent of the world’s population (more than 627 million people) have shopped online at least once. Nine years on these figures have escalated to 85 percent worldwide.
This is a digital age, one where we are seeing a massive change in the way people shop and pay for their goods. Customers are savvy shoppers and will no longer head on down to their local high street without searching on line for the best deals first. This trend has never been more prevalent than it is today. With the backlash of the recession hitting everyone’s pockets hard, customers began to invest their time seeking out the best deals and comparing prices on line, before putting their hands in their pockets. Shopping has been made easy for the average consumer, with free delivery costs (minimum spend required) why venture out into the cold when they can have it delivered to their door the next day. With businesses offering free returns as well as free delivery, the nation has submerged themselves into this digital age and embraced the internet.
It is important for a business embarking on the social media route for the first time to understand the concept of customer behaviour in this digital age. This will enable the business concerned to understand how to apply their own approach to potential customers, thus reiterating to them the need to join the frenzy that is, social media.
Customers are no longer loyal to brick and mortar retail like they perhaps once were. The new generation of shoppers have been raised in a digital world. A world they are addicted too. Young adults today are permanently attached to one gadget or another. They download music and books by the dozens. Book shops and music shops worldwide are closing down as the youth of today embrace the modern digital age. It is a fact, customer’s behaviour in the retail world has evolved and businesses need to evolve along with them for continued success. Supermarkets are good example of adapting to change, with their online delivery service, customers can opt to order their weekly shopping on line. Several years ago this would have been unheard of.
In summary, customer behaviour needs to be understood by businesses, In order for them to remain key players in their field.
Canvas8.com Expert outlook on shopping report their findings on consumer outlook for 2016 , how important is mobile commerce? Will people come to expect engaging shopping experiences? http://www.canvas8.com/
5: ITERNET MOBILITY
Businesses today are no longer tied to the office. Employees can travel anywhere, on a train they are a mobile workforce. Laptops, iPads, Android phones, iPhones and Microsoft phones all play a significant role enabling an employee to work from any forms of technology and conducting their business sufficiently while on the move. For example, an employee can do a lot of their reporting from a mobile phone or iPad and email the report directly to their boss while on the move. This is advantageous when trains, buses or accidents and motorways are halted due to unforeseen weather conditions or accidents. These incidents no longer disable a company and set them back. Business can continue as usual. For this to be effective for businesses, mobile workers/employees need to perform in the same way they would in the office, with full access to desktops, applications and files.
According to industry analyst firm, IDC, there were 3.35 billion mobile workers worldwide in 2014 and that number is expected to climb to 3.71 billion by 2018.
With internet speed increasing and almost 97 percent of the UK connected to the internet, business on the go is fast replacing the need for office based employees. Many small business operate on line alone, such as, notonthehighstreet.com is a good example of this.
Internet mobility is important for the stability of businesses in our rural communities. George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, recently laid out plans to enhance economic output of rural parts of the UK through installation of high-speed broadband. He quoted in the Telegraph www.telegraph.co.uk on December 17th 2015, “With our plan, Britain can become our engine of growth.
Mobility for business instantly connect the business with the consumer. Message alerts on mobile phones informing a customer their parcel has been dispatched is commonplace. This is hugely beneficial for customers and businesses alike. This new feature in mobile internet cuts down the cost of phone calls reducing their monthly bills dramatically. This works both ways as customers no longer need to pick up the phone to track their parcel. They can simply track their parcel on line. This is one of the single most positive additions to mobile internet. Not only is this cost effective, it gives peace of mind to the consumer.
Internet mobility has been a great success in all areas of business, from news reporting around the world to the armed forces. Accessing up to the minute news has never been easier. Streamed almost instantly as it happens the public are more in tune with what is happening around the world than ever before. Mobile internet is the way forward for business. There is no escaping this fact. Businesses that choose to ignore this will inevitably suffer. Mobile internet is here, it is working, it is a great success and inarguably the best thing that has ever happened for business since the very first computers replaced typewriters.
SOCIAL MEDIA FOR BUSINESS IS IMPORTANT.
A business today will struggle to thrive in this digital age. It would be like a plant without water, eventually it will die. Businesses need social media whether they are willing to embrace it or not (fact).
Businesses gain many more customers if they are on a social media platform. (Fact).
Employees no longer need the use of an office to conduct their work or attend a meeting (Fact)
Consumer behaviour towards buying/shopping has changed in favour of browsing/purchasing on line (fact).
Communication has improved for both business and consumer with the invention of the internet (Fact).
Social media is hugely beneficial for promotion and marketing. (Fact).
A businesses potential customer reach is improved greatly with a social media platform. (Fact).
The merge of with business and social media is financially beneficial. (Fact)
Most consumers will search on line before going to the shops to purchase a product. (Fact).
A businesses competitors will most likely be advertising on social media. (Fact.)
The next generation of shoppers will shop on line before considering a bricks and mortar retail outlet. (Fact) This is already happening.)
Social media is here to stay. It is apart of modern life and will evolve every year to e more sophisticated intelligent than the year before. APPS will improve, consider what they are doing for businesses already and imagine for one moment what they will be offering in the coming years.