Social Media is an emerging and exponentially growing trend that has quickly and effectively established a Herculean-type dominance in the marketing fields of business and entrepreneurship. Social media has changed the way our current and future generations will portray and utilize the World Wide Web.
The thought of life without social media seems absurd and impractical to Millennials. How did we get by and function on a daily basis before social media existed – is not even a relevant question anymore. Although social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have been around for less than a decade, the change in traditional business practices, specifically marketing, have been abundantly evident. These networks have made it easier for professionals in all fields of study to interact & collaborate, allows connectivity on an unprecedented scale, and have drawn formidable new ways to reach customers.
The impact and importance of social media might be surprising and perhaps shocking. Since 2014, YouTube has reigned supreme to cable television by reaching more adults than any cable TV network. In the United States alone, the number of people who regularly watch cable television shows has fallen significantly behind those who routinely keep up with their favorite YouTubers. Facebook now has more than 1.55 billion total users, with a remarkable 1.01 billion being daily users. Not to mention, LinkedIn is by far the largest professional and business social networking platform – reaching upwards of over 396 million subscribed users in over 200 countries and territories. So social media is popular but can you actually use it to make money? Is it lucrative? BuzzFeed, a self-described “social news and entertainment company”, is estimated to have made $10.8 million dollars in 2015 just from their YouTube viewership.
Should my business use social media? If so – which one? Distinguishing the differences between social media platforms is an important consideration. It is crucial to use each platform as designed and follow the platform’s intended media etiquettes. It is also important to consider which platform your target audience is utilizing and how.
There is no special social media powerhouse that dominates every other any longer. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Each of the giants (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+) hold large market shares in their own specific niches. In fact, these companies are so effective and successful at what they do, that instead of competing in their chosen areas, they actually have begun partnering with each other to increase market productivity and customer conversion rates.
Social media should be used primarily as a Business-to-Customer presence. It allows for increased brand recognition and loyalty, especially among organizations that are able to have an authentic ‘voice’ which is representative of the organization but relatable. On a large scale, social media can dramatically decrease marketing costs allowing inexperienced marketers a chance to systematically increase their customer conversion rates using built-in data analytics. Find what your customers are using, be genuine, and try to attract rather than sell.
Original publication: The Cowley Courier Traveler Newspaper