The insurgence of social media among millennials has been drastic worldwide especially in the last decade.
This populace and extensive use of social media has affected many sectors differently both positively and negatively – among them the business sector.
Our observation as a social media marketing company is that social media dominance has made it central for companies to rely on these platforms and this has altered how businesses operate in many ways. Here are some of the primary changes we have seen.
How social media has changed marketing
Marketing has taken a new shift with social media taking center stage. This is the main way businesses utilize social media. Social media offers businesses different approaches to market their products either via organic marketing which is free or paid targeted marketing.
Organic marketing mainly entails adoption and utilization of keywords similar to search engine optimization. It requires creating social media accounts or pages, naming and describing the page or account using the keywords and regularly creating and sharing keyword-optimized content related to a business. The main aim of organic marketing is to achieve top rankings on search results whether on social media or search engines whenever a search query using the keywords is put. Businesses can also advertise by sharing posts, directly posting to groups or on influencer pages with large followings.
Paid targeted marketing, on the other hand, mainly entails paying to sponsor your content. The paid content appears at the top of the organic search result ranking, or on the newsfeed of users. The sponsored content appearing on newsfeeds may appear randomly or triggered – targeting users that had earlier made a search query or visited a website related to the keywords in the sponsored content. Businesses can pay to sponsor content on their social media or content outside of social media such as content from their website, YouTube or from a business app among other sources.
An example of paid marketing – a sponsored offer appearing in the newsfeed
Example of a business sponsoring a video advertisement linked to its website to appear on a users’ newsfeed.
The appearance of Sponsored Ads in the Newsfeed section and the advertisement section (Image Source: Disruptive Advertising)
Following the new needs, hundreds of social media marketing agencies have been established all over the world to offer professional social media marketing services to businesses. These firms are crucial to businesses that have limited expertise in social media marketing and can be contracted for nearly anything concerning social media marketing.
How social media has changed our connection with customers in real-time
Social media has also provided a new way that businesses can connect and communicate with their customers or clients. Chatting directly on social media has become a convenient way people contact businesses to make an order, inquiry, raise grievances or simply seek assistance.
This new channel has been embraced so widely that businesses are hiring social media managers and attendants to handle their social media accounts. It has been proven to be a cheaper means of offering customer care services and to the majority of people a preferred choice in comparison to phone calls. It is a low-cost investment as compared to the traditional phone call system that required huge initial installation capital and a significant running and maintenance capital.
The customer care services offered on social media are also more satisfying as the customer can refer back to the chat later and in case of change or shifts the new attendant can easily refer to the previous chat and progress from where the predecessor stopped.
The chat option that offers real-time communication
How social media has changed transparency in operations
Social media has also contributed to business transparency through consumer-generated reviews, recommendations, and comments.
Businesses today barely go unnoticed if they engage in any ambiguity or provide substandard products or service. Consumers head to their page to make complaints and discourage or warn others against transacting with the entity.
Social media accounts also give consumers an opportunity to review and recommend companies. This has greatly promoted transparency in businesses. Businesses strive to offer top-notch services or quality products to maintain positive feedback as even a single negative review can have a big detrimental and costly impact.
Business Review and Recommendation on Facebook
How social media has changed content broadcasting
Social media has also become an effective platform for sharing knowledge and making announcements with multiple advantages over other channels.
The platform offers a flexible way of disseminating information in different forms such as videos, images, and text among other forms. Businesses are also not restrained to formalities, they can package their content either formally or informally such as in the form of jokes.
A bigger advantage is that social media platforms such as Facebook give businesses an effective way of taking content to the mass, unlike other channels that rely on attracting people to the content. By sponsoring content, businesses can take their content to a mass audience appearing on the newsfeed of a specifically targeted population. The target population doesn’t need to make any input to trigger the sponsored content to appear on their newsfeed, they only need to meet the biographic requirement set when selecting the target population such as age, gender, education level, interests or being in the set geographic zone.
The dissemination of content on social media is limitless. Businesses today make all sorts of announcements on their social media pages such as the launching of new products, product offers, promotions, job vacancies, and the release of new upgrades. For instance software upgrades and many other announcements related to the businesses. These announcements can either be organic or sponsored posts. In addition to announcements, general and advanced knowledge related to specific businesses is also shared either as direct posts, embedded posts or links to the actual content as a way of channeling traffic to websites.
How social media has changed sales
Yes, you can also buy or sell directly on social media such as on the Facebook shop. This a new avenue where businesses can set up shops under their social media accounts. The stores come equipped with all the key features available in an eCommerce website including pricing and discounts, product images, product descriptions, inventory, delivery options, payment/check-out options, and other features.
The features are well incorporated for easy use and businesses can even schedule when a post is to be published and who is to view the post. They can also sponsor the listed products to reach more people under the target market.
For businesses already with an eCommerce website, they can integrate their social media account shops with their website such that a customer does almost everything on social media and is directed to the website only when checking out. With billions of daily users all over the world, these stores are crucial avenues businesses cannot afford to ignore.
Selling directly on a Facebook page
How social media has changed competition
Social media has also scaled up competition between businesses. Small businesses now have a chance to compete with corporations through social media marketing.
The benefit of targeted marketing gives all business the much needed equal chance to promote their products and services at a much cheaper cost. Such equal grounds on other channels such as newspapers and TV networks would be largely unaffordable to a small businesses and thus only the giant companies are likely to benefit giving them a competitive advantage. Today with social media, which surprisingly has a wider reach than traditional media, all businesses have a chance to reach a good number of consumers organically or at a small fee increasing the competition.
How social media has changed the social aspects of business
Social media also gives businesses a social aspect. While on official websites businesses are restrained to official and core business matters, on social media they have an opportunity to loosen up and engage consumers socially. It is not a surprise to see social posts that have little or nothing to do with the core business of a company being posted on a company’s social media accounts. Such social posts are mainly meant for entertainment, inspiration, motivation, and well wishes, among other social-non-business purposes. The social aspects of business increase its closeness to the consumer giving them a sense of belonging to its community that strengthens consumers’ loyalty.
How social media has changed business visibility
Social media also increases businesses visibility which is crucial for start-ups and small businesses. A good number of start-ups are only known locally and take years to be known and reach a wider market but with social media, things have changed. Start-ups and small businesses can create social media accounts or pages, sponsor their content to reach more people and share their pages or content on other pages and groups with large followings so that it increases their visibility. Businesses before social had the difficulties of informing the masses about their social responsibility but today with a single sponsored post they can reach a huge number of people keeping them informed.
It is without a doubt social media has significantly altered the way businesses operate. Many aspects of doing business, the above eight being just a few to mention, have greatly influenced the adoption of social media and driven smart companies to invest billions in social media. Today businesses cannot afford to ignore social media.
As a result, it is important to investigate which benefits your business can take from social media and initiate the necessary measures to incorporate social media into your strategy.
Tip: You can always hire a social media expert or a freelancer on Fiverr.
Guest author: Abhimanyu Arora works for Minds Metricks, a leading Social Media Marketing company in Dubai offering a variety of Social Media marketing services including artwork & graphics creation, competitor analysis, social media auditing, page setup, content creation & planning, and community management among many other services. Get in touch or follow them here – @mindsmetricks and /mindsmetricks/.