Looking Ahead in 2012: The Influence of Social Media in Business

The power and influence of social media can no longer be ignored. In a struggling economy, everyone is searching for their competitive advantage. In 20-12, the strongest will be those closest to their customer base. Managing a loyal clientele through social media is a must.

Social media is a direct, inexpensive channel straight into consumers’ lives.

We are connected. Business must come to us.

SOCIAL MEDIA GAINS INFLUENCE DAILY

It is not so much an obligation as it is unique opportunity. One to be capitalized on. Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, present a dynamic opportunity for business to build their brand awareness, improve their brand loyalty and hardwire into their customers’ thoughts/needs/wants. Social media is a direct, inexpensive channel straight into consumers’ lives. Results that were once only possible through endless focus groups and painful surveys, are now available at organizations’ finger-tips. What information people are seeking, what products and at what prices.

This dynamic web of information must be used effectively to influence consumer behavior. Those who don’t will be awash in a sea of Google search pages. Drowned out by those who understand the behavior of search engines and capitalize on SEO through content curation. As more and more people expand their social networks, the world of social media gains  influence exponentially.
Social Networks Adoption Lifecycle

CHOOSE YOUR STRATEGY WISELY

With staggering user statistics, it is easy for business to want to aggressively pursue these markets. The problem with that type of response, is that it does not work that way. The high level of visibility social media provides, works both ways. Users are keen to the business seeking only to make a profit.

While ultimately this is every business’s goal, there must still be value for the consumer through social media interaction. Organizations must tread carefully into social networks and be prepared to offer your consumers a mutually beneficial online connection. More is not better. Don’ t overdo it. Users DO NOT simply want another email newsletter, and spammers get blacklisted.

Conventional marketing wisdom long held that a dissatisfied customer tells ten people. But…in the new age of social media, he or she has the tools to tell ten million.

                – Paul Gillin, author of The New Influencers 

The challenge presented is that each social media outlet has its own unique culture. With culture comes faux pas. The challenge for organizations in 20-12 is that these cultures are still taking shape. And understanding these “do’s and don’ts,  is the first step to choosing a wise social media strategy. Taking simple steps, such as understanding social media etiquette (ex: Twitter Etiquette), before you take the social media plunge will greatly improve your standing with your online client base.

WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER

The influence of social media in business is overwhelming in an online culture that is shifting and churning. Your organizational influence will come through a deep understanding of the “now” in social media. Adopting a strategy that is agile and able to shift gears quickly. Tailored to your organizations needs and goals, while understanding the medium through which it is being communicated. Provide your social network with a mutually beneficial relationship and be willing to give not just receive.

Step one is understanding how to have smarter social media.

Step two is taking social media from talk to action.

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