When the internet was in its infancy, back in the days of chat rooms, when there were more browsers to choose from than boy bands of the 90’s, no one could imagine the advent or impact of social media. Today, not only has it changed the way we communicate with one another, it has dramatically altered how companies market their products and services.
Highly Targeted Advertising
Once upon a time, businesses had to create billboards, magazine advertisements, radio jingles, and television commercials in the hopes that their intended audience would not only see one form of advertising but be moved to make a purchase. Today, Facebook advertising allows businesses to target a particular demographic within a particular radius of where the company is headquartered. Such highly targeted advertising allows businesses, particularly those in location sensitive industries such as doctors, dentists, attorneys, real estate agents, or retail stores, to put their product or service in front of the intended audience in minutes.
Immediacy of Interaction
For better or worse, social media has shortened the American attention span. Prior to the advent of the internet, if a customer had a negative experience with a store, product, or service they would write a strongly worded letter, send it via US Postal Service, and wait four to six weeks for a response. Once email was widely used, the expected response time for interaction decreased to one business day, at most. Social media has shortened that expected response time to just a few minutes. In fact, 71 percent of social media users expect to have their question answered or their concern addressed in less than an hour. The expected immediacy of interaction with the brands people use has hurt many businesses as they have tried keeping up with social media at the expense of actually running their business.
Backlash is Real
While it takes time and a groundswell of support to develop a following on social media, one false move can impact your presence on any and every platform. An angry employee, a bad review, and unsubstantiated rumors can have a profound effect, not only on the online presence of a business, but also on their bottom line. Every social media interaction is representative of a company’s brand, and the message should be cohesive across mediums. The entire process of maintaining each account in a way that is connected and based on the image the business wants to portray is not easy, but it is necessary.
While it may seem easier to avoid social media altogether, an effective social media campaign can boost your visibility, increase brand awareness, and translate to a better bottom line. If the information shared is valuable, there is the added benefit of building trust and brand loyalty within current and future customers.