Yes, the original social networking sites were initially designed for connecting people. But since then, they’ve become transformational business tools and resources that allow brands to connect with customers in ways that have never been seen before.
Understanding the influential effect of social media can help entrepreneurs and business owners alike better predict desires.
The Infancy of Social Media
Social media is now a huge component of our society at present, so it’s easy to forget that we’re only in the second decade of what can only be described as mass use. So believe it or not, we’ll look back in 15 or 20 years and say social media was only in its infancy in 2016.
All of the now colossal mainstream social networks were founded before 2012. The earliest being MySpace, in 2003. In other words, the oldest “mainstream” social networking site on the Internet is less than 15 years old. Little did we know at the time, that these years would go down in history.
However, in just a 15 year period, social media has created a huge indent in society, and business in particular. What started as a niche resource is now considered one of the most powerful marketing tools a business has at its disposal.
From an advertising perspective, the most influential aspect of social media is targeting. It has never been possible, until now, to develop marketing and advertising materials, and put them in front of precisely the consumers you are aiming for. Before social media advertising was a thing, businesses had to seek out websites or places where they thought their target customers might be. Now, with Facebook, they know that everyone is present. Mind blowing stuff, really, considering a decade ago this would have been gasped at.
Organic Reach Like Never Before
Advertising via the Internet has been around for a while, although most methods feel somewhat forced. Social media has changed the game with organic marketing. Businesses can now engage in genuinely interesting conversations and promote valuable content without forcing it upon their target audience. Ultimately, this has led to more brand transparency.
24/7 Customer Service
Businesses pride themselves on good customer service. That’s just how it is. It’s common sense to know that treating your customers kindly and with respect just works. However, until recently, building a strong customer service department required a heavy investment in people and resources.
When social media became a player, small businesses gained the ability to offer responsive customer service, too – without a huge investment. Now, though, all businesses have the power to provide 24/7 customer service, with no more than a social media account and a keen desire to please their customers.
The prominence of social media has subsequently accelerated the growth of content marketing. In the past, businesses were only able to publish via an onsite blog, build an email subscriber list and distribute newsletters, or form relationships with media figures. Now, direct posting on social media has made publishing easier on everyone. In fact, more than 2.5 million pieces of content are now shared on Facebook every single minute!
So… What Next?
Social media has altered things in a substantial way by allowing businesses to post and share content directly with consumers, cost-free. This shift, or should I say drastic shove, towards social media, and away from now outdated methods means that businesses, be they local or global, must post quality engaging content in order to make their footprint in the sand of social media.