Social Media has become one of the aspects which every company begins to investigate when they are looking to ramp up their online marketing efforts. Particularly in the past couple of years, we are constantly advised that using FaceBook and Twitter to increase our presence and connect with our customers is paramount to our success.
So how useful and powerful are these elements really?
First, social media is trumpeted as a way to have a dialogue with customers. In truth, the ways that many companies use social media is more subtle than the two-way dialogue between customers and themselves. That could always have been achieved by a forum. However, forums have the danger of always focusing on the negative – customers are more likely to visit a company’s forum to air grievances than to express how they love the company.
Twitter and Facebook, on the other hand, can be used to highlight the features and issues that companies want to promote, and at the same time conveniently ignore any grievances or complaints of customers.
Unless those customers have their own prominent Twitter following, they are unlikely to get much traction, and the company can focus more on the customers who are positive.
For example, a company can post a link to its ad campaign, which will be viewed by thousands, and then reply to followers who are relatively commendatory of the campaign and the products being sold.
In times of company distress, where the back of the company may be up against the wall, a statement through social media can seem more genuine than a press release.
A press release can be the official response to the situation, and social media adds a personal spin. Part of this reason is that the company, when on social networking sites, is perceived less as a huge conglomeration, but as a human at the other end of the internet.
The current vogue of using social networking, particularly FaceBook and Twitter, has led to them both being avenues of advertising that people are willing to actively accept. Customers will opt-in to view your posts, which gives you an impressive base of followers that you know are a key part of your demographic.
Currently, there is an acceptance from these people to digest your marketing without the usual heavy veil of cynicism that has begun to plague traditional forms of marketing. If you play your cards right, it can lead to a general rise in your brand worth that is hard to come by through other media.