There's no denying that social media has become an integral part of our society, allowing us to stay in touch with loved ones and form new friendships. It has also benefited consumers and the way businesses reach new customers. Here are just a few ways that the evolution of social media has changed the way businesses operate.
One of the biggest advantages to the development of social media is the opportunity it has offered in the area of free marketing and publicity opportunities. While paid advertising is still possible and beneficial, the ability to use social media to reach new customers is helping independent and small business owners reach a broader base of customers.
If you master the art of SEO (search engine optimization) tactics and can create entertaining and interesting content, you can take that free marketing opportunity a step further. Creating something others enjoy will cause them to share it, which means there's the chance it will go viral and create greater interest in your business.
Today, anyone can have a celebrity speaking for their business, though your budget will determine who you can hire. Content creators on the various social media websites are gathering as many followers as Hollywood A-listers and they're using that popularity to their advantage. Influencer marketing is the act of hiring a popular content creator to promote your business or product to their followers. There are as many as 25 distinct metrics that demonstrate influencer marketing can generate a real ROI.
Deviating from the Hard Sell
While social media has benefited businesses, it has also helped consumers. Now, the public expects a greater sense of transparency from their favorite brands and they don't like the hard sell. In fact, they're less likely to interact with a company that seems more interested in selling a product than in communicating openly. Today, if you want to attract consumers, you have to develop relationships with them.
Customers Have More Power
Additionally, customers have the power more today than ever before, due to that transparency. Online reviews, especially those posted on social media sites, draw attention from others. Research has shown that many consumers read online reviews, before trying a new brand or product. Podium states: “This might sound strange, but a vast majority of people (84% to be exact) trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends as long as they meet certain criteria like authenticity, is in the right industry, or you have multiple reviews on the same site.” This might be a shock to businesses who have not managed or addressed the negative feedback they might have on sites, but from now on, reviews are going to have to be an integral part of business's social media strategy.
The popularity of social media drew business leaders to exploit that method of marketing, but, over time, it became clear that the consumers aren't without influence. While the internet can be used to help a business grow, it must be done in accordance with the unwritten rules established by consumers. If you genuinely interact with consumers, express an interest in social responsibility, and create engaging content, you're far more likely to succeed in the free marketing system of social media.