In the new age of ‘Social’, everyone knows that social is important. According to an IBM report, with the world spending 110 billion minutes on social networks and blog sites per month, this equates to 22 percent of all time spent online.
Few companies can afford to ignore this opportunity to gain competitive advantage. For many business owners, the question is not that you are missing a chance, but WHY are you missing the incredible social media opportunity boat. And benefits of having a social media presence aren’t just limited to web based businesses. Ignoring social media can result in more than one missed or lost opportunity including – extended reach, engagement, visibility, influence, competitor insight etc. But then, just how important is Social Media along with hundreds of other necessary tasks a business owner needs to perform.
Here are the new ‘Social truths’ that your business cannot afford to ignore anymore–
# Truth 1 Social Media is your New Marketing Opportunity
Social media networks are accessible 365*24*7. With little or no investment required (except time), it is the newest marketing opportunity you certainly do not want to miss out on.
With social media you can:
- Easily interact with current customers/clients.
- Connect to thousands of potential clients/customers (domestic/global)
- Build your image and a professional brand.
- Really know your target audience.
- Develop a competitive edge.
OfficeYes.com, a New Delhi based e-commerce website that focuses on B2B office supplies recently launched a new range of school stationary items via social media. With a campaign that was run on Twitter under the hashtag #SchoolMemory, it was able to reach out to over 1.6 lakh users within a period of 20 days and increase their followership by 50%!
#Truth 2 Social Media Boosts Productivity
For many mid-sized businesses openness is the most troubling aspects of being social. But not when you realize that being open can actually improve bottom-lines. For those in customer service, teams are more effective and benefit from an ongoing exchange about problems and solutions in real-time from customers of Facebook or Twitter, instead of relying on older sources of information. Product development teams can quickly address issues or mistakes through complaints on social media forums. Geographically dispersed sales personal can exchange information and find information that helps him have a better meeting with a potential client. With people collaborating across borders, you can save money in ways you hadn’t even thought of.
Cuponnation.in is a website that provides e-commerce coupons in India. The company launches large scale business campaigns every two months. Earlier this year, after having interacted with thousands of customers on Facebook and Twitter, they were able to identify a big opportunity to promote coupons for the sports category and started a Fit India Movement campaign using platforms like YouTube, resulting in a growth in fan base by 25%.
#Truth 3 Social helps Leverage New Opportunities and Avert Damage
“Conventional marketing wisdom long held that a dis-satisfied customer tells ten people. But…in the new age of social media, he or she has the tools to tell ten million” says author and social consultant, Paul Gillin in his book.
Social media continues to expand and people discuss just about everything. However as messages and people get savvier, your company’s successes, failures and mistakes can all get amplified, displayed and shared online for the whole world to see. Only if you’re paying attention, can you reap real benefits or avert real damage.
Burgs, a restaurant that is famous for its Burgers chose to crowd source the new burger by inviting 30 renowned food bloggers to participate in a one of a kind chance to invent their own burgers. By involving the right influencers on the project, the restaurant was able to bring about sufficient credibility to their menu change while averting possible negative feedback, all with the help of social media.
#Truth 4 Social Media Drives More Leads and Sale Transactions
Thousands of small and growing businesses have tailored their company’s social media strategy to drive sales.
Top line findings have shown that a vast majority of consumers (80 percent) say that social media posts in terms of “Shared or Favorited” Or Liked/Commented/Pinned on Facebook, Pinterest OR tweeted/retweeted on Twitter have inspired them to make a purchase. Moreover, more than four out of five people are also influenced into making purchase decisions by social media posts from friends
That means, if the approach is right, say, by posting relevant pictures of your products or providing special discounts and deals on social media, companies can generate vast momentum in driving traffic and increased sales transactions like no other
A classic example of is of Taxi Driver Devesh Mishra from Banaras who was able to bring in a great amount of his business, which includes a large number of international clientele, by optimizing his video on YouTube.
# Truth 5 Social Media can result in Increased Trustworthiness & Revenue
Engagement with social customers allows for direct two way communication. These consumers in turn have the reach to influence others, share opinions and in turn expand your customer base – driving for you new business and increased trustworthiness.
However, how you reap the benefits of a social media presence depends on your overall marketing strategy, consistency of your presence and messaging and the audience you have positioned yourself in front of.
London Market, a destination apparel store that gained popularity among art and antique lovers for its jewelry and fashion accessories made intelligent use of Facebook and a woman’s innate need to talk about their latest shopping experiences to create an online buzz. Within a span of few weeks, their “Style Stalked Contest” and “Loyalty Program” and “posting of latest apparel pics” they were able to connect to over 4500 more fans which saw a direct growth in the number of people looking taking advantage of their card program.
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