The Importance of Social Media in Today’s Business

From the classroom to the office, social media has taken communication to a new level. Years ago, social media networks were considered a novelty; however this “fad” has proven to be more effective in positive results regarding four main areas of business: Audience, Networking, Feedback, and Time Efficiency. Business owners need to understand the importance of these key functions of social media and apply them within their business models.

AUDIENCE

The starting point for every business is to know your audience. Communicating the right messages to your target market will make a huge difference in marketing and sales. “Put yourself in the buyer’s position” and it may quickly change how you craft your message and/or products. Ten years ago, marketing options were limited to cold calls and direct mailings; in today’s business we have web pages, mobile responsive ads, and social media channels. This makes information more accessible in a timely manner. Social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn will expose your business and will function as tools to help grow your brand. Having “likes” and “followers” on these social channels will reassure other buyers that consumers like your business and therefore help gain more business as result.

The goal is to have your business go “viral.” This means to have it spread like wildfire locally and/or globally. Thanks to YouTube and Facebook, the “water bucket” challenge did just that to raise over $220 million dollars (globally) in raising the awareness of the lethal neurodegenerative disorder commonly referred to as ALS in the year 2014. The video was based on the “challenge” to dump ice water over your head and/or donate to the ALS foundation with the link to the website attached. This one example shows the power and velocity social media has in raising awareness.

NETWORKING

There is a constant struggle in today’s world with leveraging work life and personal life. We have all heard the phrase “time is money.” This especially rings true when attempting to combine two busy schedules during the work week. Networking becomes much easier when businesses have an online presence. LinkedIn is a powerful social media tool that allows business owners, workers, and college graduates to connect online before meeting in person. This allows you to build your network as you go, find organizational leaders with which to connect, and become a brand ambassador. Finding other professionals with similar key interests and business goals will enhance growth and expand your network further.

FEEDBACK

Feedback is crucial for a business’s growth. Social media functions are in real-time which means it gives the consumer access to give feedback 24/7. Monitoring the comments and ratings given by your audience regarding their experience with your business is crucial for change and growth. Regardless of whether the review is good or bad, a business should take it into consideration and implement change or amplify what is already being done. Feedback is just another word for effective listening. It is an opportunity to motivate under-performance in a constructive way and develop performance to a higher level. It is also a way to keep up with your audience and their wants/needs. This goes back to the importance of knowing your target market and “putting yourself in the buyer’s position.” Knowing how your business is thriving, and how it could use some additional work, will give you an advantage against your competitors.

TIME EFFICIENCY

Not only will social media save your business time, it will save your business money. Social media saves time with tools that allow you to create a schedule and stick to it, prepare in advance, and post on multiple sites at once (cross-posting). Using a social media calendar and organizer such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or Buffer allows you to organize posts, in advance, and cross-post your messages. This means you may have Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn all up at once and schedule posts out days, weeks, or even months in advance. It gives the ability to cross-post on all three social media sites or you can schedule them to post separately. Data from all social networks can be aggregated and analyzed from one single location, saving on time and resources to gain those insights. It also gives instant access to results and enables quick iteration and strategic shifts.

Without doubt, social media allows businesses to create and manage content effectively and allows all departments within your company to do their job more efficiently. Spreading awareness by becoming a brand ambassador, paying close attention to your audience, networking effectively, listening to feedback, and saving the business time and money are crucial parts to a well-run business model.