It’s no secret that social media hit it big. Facebook has carried the torch it subverted from MySpace and Friendster, and has catapulted social networking into the mainstream, along with its rivals/complements Twitter and Google Plus.
Social media has become nearly as ubiquitous as the Internet. Nearly one in two people on the Internet has a social media account. Facebook alone has over 1.1 billion active users as of March 2013—a staggering one-seventh of the global population.
With such incredible popularity, it stands to reason that social media has applications for business as well. It’s understandable that there might be apprehensions regarding its use for company work—there are countless horror stories of employees causing massive snafus on Twitter or publicly embarrassing on Facebook the hand that feeds them.
If applied irresponsibly, there are many disadvantages to integrating social media with official business. It could turn into a PR nightmare and result in heavy losses for the company. If done right, the benefits for social media for companies far outweigh any possible negatives, as you’ll see below.
1. Social Media is Great for Marketing
The first benefit is also the most obvious. With the amount of people online and accessible at any given moment, there are hundreds and thousands of people waiting to be tapped into. Lead generation is a core tenet of any marketing strategy, and social media provides a built-in directory for all sorts of consumers from all over the world.
This is a direct effect of the increased marketing push that social media brings. With more expanded networking opportunities, your marketing staff have the ability to engage and establish relationships with customers. The far reach of social media enables you to connect practically anywhere, anytime, which leads directly to more sales.
3. Social Media Expands Public Relations
Those who work in PR understand the true power of social media and the viral nature of the Internet. At its most basic, networks like Facebook allows you to post advertisements for sales, promotions, conferences, and other community events in general.
Facebook and Twitter also allow for followers, effectively creating a loyal fanbase. Creating effective advertising, spread by this community, can turn the tide of public opinion for your company, pushing up your online street cred.
4. Social Media Promotes Consumer Education
The constant presence of social media in our lives allows it to be a platform for information and education as well. Because of its staggered, asynchronous nature, you’ll be able to dedicate a proper information campaign in which the potential customers have a chance to learn, ask questions, and hopefully be converted.
As opposed to more traditional advertising, where they usually have less than a minute to make a decision, they’ll be able to consider their purchasing decisions in a more deliberate fashion.
5. Social Media is Good for CEOs
Thought leadership is a pretty common buzzword these days. It refers to people who have the capacity to effect change with simply their ideology. Thought leaders are generally influential people with a relatively considerable amount of power, and so CEOs fit the bill perfectly.
The CEO of your company can harness social media as a platform for their philosophy, employing Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Google Hangouts as a place to host question and answer sessions as well as online seminars.
Social media may seem daunting at first, but the net positive effect for your company will make your efforts worth it in the end. Seek out social media experts, plan and implement a social media strategy, and see your reputation steadily rise. You’ll be surprised at how much it will help. Has social media use benefited your company? Let us know in the comments below.