Social media… it’s most of the rage today! It’s increasingly becoming a more integral section of people’s everyday lives, especially now that people can hold the entire world within their pockets with cell phones which are Web enabled and have data packages. Since these day there are over two billion people — nearly one-third the entire world’s population — connected via social media, it is now crucial, even critical, for businesses to make the most of the huge potential given to them by social media. People who don’t make the most of this trend do so at their very own peril!
Dejavu All Over Again!
Some say we’re seeing the repeat of trends we saw at the turn of the century… all over again. Though the Internet as a communication tool began October 29, 1969, celebrating the very first communication between two distant computers, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in March of 1989, giving us the hyper-text markup language (HTML) that permits pages, links and browsers used all over the world to talk with each other. In the entire year 2000, the Web as we know it absolutely was merely a eleven years old. Businesses were beginning to appreciate that the Internet was becoming bigger and bigger and was moving beyond the military (its original user), academia and business, and increasingly into people’s homes (and now… even their pockets!) Online shopping was gradually gaining on brick and mortar retail, competing more and more for shoppers’ dollars. Businesses that took advantage of the trend became more successful, whereas those who didn’t suffered as their competitors beat them in the web marketplace.
Good examples that have made the news headlines recently include Borders Books and Blockbuster Video. Borders didn’t believe the Web would become as huge as it has and was soon upstaged by Amazon, who began utilizing their online platform for books and now sell more or less everything. Blockbuster Video, once observed in so many communities, has closed so many of their brick and mortar stores since Netflix came on the scene. Had it not been for Dish Network stepping in, most Blockbuster stores might have had to close. Now their attempting to win back Netflix customers angered over recent fee hikes. Blockbuster is hoping to remain viable and relevant making use of their newest program.
Return on Investment… Bang for Your Buck!
The main point is that we’re seeing a similar trend in business today pertaining to social media. Business is starting to “humanize” and return to that “get-to-know-you” feel of hometown businesses where business owners and customers often actually connect on a personal basis. Social networking is helping to produce this personal feel on a much bigger scale now, in the sense that people can stay digitally more connected than ever… whilst they “cocoon” within their homes/offices and have less face-to-face communication.
While we can argue the ill social effects of that social trend, businesses can’t ignore it. By the very nature of what they do, those involved with network marketing, a.k.a. affiliate marketing or multi-level marketing, certainly can’t ignore it as a key tool for building down lines and expanding their business beyond their warm market of family and friends, lots of whom may or may not be enthusiastic about a home-based business or work-at-home business opportunity, however quickly growing that trend is. The social media explosion is getting more and more attention. Business leaders are discussing it, authors are authoring it, and some say it’s just the beginning.
Business trend experts like Gary Vaynerchuk, writer of The Thank You Economy, claim that we’re seeing the “calm before the social media storm” (see the link to his MSNBC interview on YouTube at the conclusion of the “LinkedIn” discussion below instagram panel . It’ll blow your brain what this guy knows and envisions about the power of social media for business!). Many people in the business world haven’t yet jumped into social media. They’re sizing it down and calculating the return on investment… not realizing that the longer they wait, the more they stand to lose on the enormous potential of being able to get their brand, product(s), and service(s) out facing potentially millions of people in an extremely cheap way compared to traditional print and TV advertising media. Branding, name recognition, market share growth, customer loyalty, brand ambassadorship… are typical important goals of business enhanced via social media.
But We Have a Website!
Individual entrepreneurs, companies large and small, organizations, network marketers, affiliate programs, even nonprofit organizations that genuinely believe that having an internet site will do of an on the web presence these days are sorely mistaken. Since so many current and potential customers and clients are engaged in social media, they’re coming to anticipate more and more that businesses and organizations they associate with is likewise able to interact with them on social media platforms. This worldwide recession we’re in is making social media platforms more important to stay relevant… to maintain a presence, build customer loyalty, and just survive.
I’m Broke… I Have a Limited Budget!
Those on a small marketing budget will see out that social media marketing is very cost-effective, with a good return on investment compared to traditional, non-trackable kinds of advertising. Having a worker devote even section of his/her time keeping social media updated is well worth the time and effort and expense in the added, perceived value it will create, providing details about your products, services, news, sales, deals, etc., and potentially increasing your customer/client base tremendously in the process.
Blogging, as an example, is an easy way to produce an outreach program for your brand, company, organization, etc., that won’t only raise awareness of who you are and what you do, but boost your credibility by having an ever-growing, social-media-savvy public. They will have a way to generally share both positives and negatives about their experience together with your products and/or service, particularly if you answer them. They’ll develop more confidence in your brand, feel more connected for you, and develop more loyalty. They’ll more likely become the willing ambassadors for your brand, product, or service that you would like them to be! Also… those that DO have an internet site, which will be normally used to provide information, take orders, etc., will likely see increased traffic on the sites which can lead to increased sales… and a rise in your return on the investment you manufactured in your social media campaigns. Best of all is that many social media platforms can be found FOR FREE, or with little actual monetary investment strongly related other types of traditional advertising, and with greater return on investment.
A Growing Trend… Better Jump On the Bandwagon!
Some estimate the amount of social media sites at 30,000 and growing by 300 new sites monthly! So, to prevent the pitfalls of starting at the incorrect place, the best places to begin are with the existing top giants, like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn. You need your customers to get to know you first. You want to share useful information with them… information that is educational, informative, entertaining, even funny… but valuable You don’t might like to do outright selling of one’s goods and services in social media, which will be more for engaging your customers or potential customers. You want to lead your customers to your website, and that is where you can do your selling!