The breadth and width of social media
It’s not enough to exist in the real world anymore. You also need to exist on an alternative plane of reality, i.e. the virtual world of social media. This is where concepts like FBO (Facebook Official) stem from; the idea is that if a piece of information isn’t documented on Facebook, it’s not authentic or verified. So don’t think you can date someone without updating your relationship status on Facebook - nobody will believe you. (Facebook never lies.)
Sticking information online makes it real and official. It makes sense that businesses and brands need to join this virtual world to put themselves on the map and market themselves. Businesses, big or small, that don’t take hold of these opportunities could be left in the dust, as today’s modern homo sapien is one who intrinsically trusts and uses the internet extensively to source information as well as share it. If people are saying things about your business online, you’ll want to know about it.
An article by Allison Reilly, CEO and founder of Stirring Media, LLC (a content marketing and news production firm), describes how social networking forms part of a tripod strategy for marketing. A combination of the use of a website, blog and social media marketing forms the ultimate package for customer attraction and retention.
Coca Cola’s CEO, Muhtar Kent, speaks in an interview about how the company’s spending on social media has increased from 3 percent to 20 percent in just 5 years, and will continue to increase.
This undoubtedly tells us that social media is important for marketing and branding.
More than a tool for big brands to infiltrate into every area of your life, I think social media marketing is incredibly useful for small businesses who need a platform to touch base with their customers, a way for them to easily reach and interact with those who support them.
It’s about being smart and knowing where to find your market in this vast and convoluted other world.
There are the usual networks that we opt to spend our few spare minutes on, namely Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Youtube. Then there are the less obvious platforms like Linked In and Google plus. I aim to explore these platforms further in my posts. Additionally, Mashable.com points to five new up-and-coming social media platforms; Vine, Myspace (the ‘new one’), Pheed, Snapchat and Thumb.
If you’re still doubtful about the influence of social media, Daniel Zeevi created an infographic which shows how social media permeates our everyday existence.
He shows how 64 percent of Twitter users and 51 percent of Facebook users are more likely to buy the brands that they follow or endorse online. Why is this? Is it possible that users feel closer to these brands, affiliated with them and therefore feel a kind of loyalty to them? Is it the storytelling that brands engage in that so entices users into virtual relationships? (The concept of brand storytelling will be explored in a later post).
For a more local perspective, have a look at the video below compiled by Chatterbox Digital which gives information on stats on social media use in South Africa.
Social networking has a lot to offer businesses and brands that engage with consideration and ethical practise. Building relationships with clients is essential in terms of community management. At the same time consumers stand to benefit from the increased accessibility and accountability that social media brings with it.