The Impact Of Social Media On Business

Posted on Jan 24 2013 - 5:00am by Fayaz

“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.”

– Scott Cook

 

Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites. Many a social network sites have come in the limelight, for helping businesses to grow especially small and medium enterprises.  Social media marketing is a very important marketing tool in the contemporary world and the best companies have accepted this. It is a must for all companies, irrespective of their size, the industry they serve in. Consumers today are more informed and empowered. They know what they want and yearn to get it. Smart companies have realized this. Around 73% of Fortune 500 companies have a Twitter account& 66% of Fortune 500 companies have a Facebook page.

Presence of companies on social network sites like Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn has become an imperative in the present business environment. Many of the companies’ use these sites for recruitment of fresh talents, or for back ground check of an employee, for advertisements of their product or services, for addressing a consumer’s grievances e.t.c. Social Network presence has become a must in a marketers’ strategy. It has strategic importance in business nowadays.

Many a companies have joined the bandwagon of social marketing. It is the in thing; everybody is doing it. A recent survey in a newspaper said that 64% of business owners have a positive attitude towards social marketing. A research shows, 57% of marketers acquired customers via blogging, 20% of Facebook users have purchased something because of ads or comments they saw there But on the other side, news like 0.5% of Facebook fans engaging with the brand they are fans of, leads generated through social media not being sales ready have made people accept social media as a marketing tool with a pinch of salt.

Social media is undoubtedly the cheapest and easy available tool for small companies to advertise and create buzz. But one of the most important things a marketer has to keep in mind that social media has become a lethal tool for protest by customers, called in popular parlance “Internet activism”. A consumer can easily showcase his views, both positive and negative towards a company or its products& this surely affects a company.

It is common knowledge that, if a consumer is happy with your product or service he will recommend it to his close friends, but if he thinks he is dissatisfied with your offering; you can minus 200 people from the list of your potential customers. Word of mouth publicity is the oldest and most trusted medium of advertisement. Its speed is its biggest asset or on sometimes the biggest thorn for companies.  In earlier times, when bad news used to hit companies, they able to take their time and plan how to respond. Today, a negative story or customer experience can be shared with millions of people within a matter of hours, via the social networks.  If you wait to respond, a small story can reach millions and causing irreparable damage to your brand. A company should focus on responding to negative publicity in real-time on social media sites that are most popular with their customers. This will help the company in transforming negative publicity into a positive brand building opportunity.

 

A good deed by the company also reaches and travels as fast as the negative publicity does. A company should not neglect social media because of these factors.

One school of thought is that marketing nowadays is moving towards brand engagement, conversation. For providing meaningful marketing to your consumer, you have to give space to the consumer, to relate to your brand, tell stories about how your brand makes his/her life easy and more satisfied. Fans create communities, like Starbucks lovers or Nike Fans. This is the highest level a brand can reach, to engage its customers in activities. The bottom line is, social media may not give immediate returns, but ignoring it is not an option.

Social media savvy consumer are more subject to show their dissent towards a product, in the case of a dissonance situation than a customer who is not that active online. In this information age, it would be committing suicide for a company, by having no social media presence, especially if it wants customers to engage with its brand(s). In my opinion, social media marketing may be a fad or not, but it’s not inconsequential for a company & simply cannot be ignored.

The article is authored by Rajwinder from KJSIMSR.


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About the Author

Fayaz is the founder of Marketing Bloggers. Apart from the jibber-jabber he is Human by birth, Engineer by mistake, Marketer by Choice.. That says it all :)

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