31 / Mar / 17

How #SocialMedia Has Changed The Landscape of Business

While the original social networking sites were initially intended for connecting people, they’ve ultimately turned into a quite significant business tool that allow brands to connect with customers in irreplaceable ways.

Social media is such an inescapable thing in our society that it’s easy to forget that we’re only in the second decade of widespread universal use. Believe it or not, we’ll look back in 15 or 20 years and say social media was only in its beginning in 2017.

Myspace launched in 2003, Facebook in 2004, Twitter in 2006, Instagram in 2010, Pinterest and Snapchat in 2011 (surprisingly), and Periscope in 2015. In other words, the veteran mainstream social site is in its mid-teens.

However, in just a decade and a half, social media has left an incontestable mark on society, and certainly on business. What initially started as a niche resource is now regarded as one of the most influential marketing outlets a business has in its arsenal.

The Rise of Social Media Customer Service

Social Media Marketing
Promoted post to targeted audience with call to action

The power that social media has had on modern customer service is unquestionable. Customer service has always been about connecting brands with consumers, and social media simplifies these relationships in a natural fashion that’s conducive to timely support.

One of the coolest things about social media - in the perspective of customer service - is that it provides businesses the opportunity to turn negative experiences into positive situations. We see this all the time with global corporations on Twitter.

Take Delta Airlines as an example. They utilize their Twitter account to communicate with more than 1.3m followers. While the majority of Delta’s strategy involves marketing and branding, a healthy proportion of their communications deal with customer service and unhappy customers.

Take a gander through their page, and you’ll notice that many of the replies are direct apologies or efforts to resolve disputes and problems. Customers know that if they have an issue, they can send a message to Delta and get a timely response. For Delta, this is far more than a customer service tactic: it’s a concrete PR play. It surges the company’s image as a brand that cares.

With such a substantial amount of present customer service taking place via social channels like Twitter and Facebook, this steadily reduces call center volume. As a result, businesses are able to sustain leaner departments that use time more resourcefully.

Pinpoint targeted advertising is a Reality

Social Marketing Demographic Targeting
Social targeting to reach specific audiences

From a marketing and advertising standpoint, the single most influential feature of social media involves targeting. Never before in the history of the business world has it been imaginable to create marketing and advertising materials, and have them seen by the exact customers you’re aiming for.

This notion is most clearly seen in Facebook Ads, which has opened up new opportunities for business owners across many industries, like:

Financial institutions — particularly credit card companies like Visa and American Express – are killing it with targeted Facebook Ads. They spend millions of ad dollars a year on targeting and have used it to reach millennials in highly engaging techniques.

Real estate — As Real Geeks points out on their website, real estate professionals are crushing it using social media. Because real estate clients are so closely tied to a specific location, the ability for agents to swiftly create ads and then deliver them to people within very specific zip codes and counties is priceless. It’s led to unbelievable results and is becoming trusted upon by tech-savvy real estate experts.

Before social media marketing became an option, businesses had to pursue websites and venues where they thought their target customers could be. But with outlets like Facebook, they know that everyone is present – all there is left to do is define the right parameters.

Organic Marketing Like Never Before

Online advertising has been around for some time now, but the majority approaches feel rather forced. PPC ads are great, but they tend to have an in-your-face stigma labelled on them. Banner ads are seen in a similar way. Even sponsored content has a “phony” feeling to it.

Social media has transformed the whole shebang by making organic marketing a possibility. Businesses can now engage in discussions and promote valuable and relevant content without forcing the envelope. Ultimately, this has led to increased brand transparency.

We’re really seeing transparency prosper when it comes to companies owning up to their blunders. Airlines are a textbook example of this.

It’s not just major airlines, though. Even fast food establishments can benefit. “[Recently] a customer of Jimmy Johns went to Facebook to complain about their order,” marketer Graham Kingma from The Verde Group explains. “Jimmy John’s approach to a customer service matter was to admit fault and make it right. The rise in trust from Jimmy John’s transparency is difficult to quantify in numbers, but it likely saved a customer and added a few more as an outcome.”

To The Business Owners…

If you’re not active on social media, you are missing a world of opportunity for engagement and connectivity to your target audience, both domestically and globally. The magic word here is Opportunity. Plain and simple, social media is exposure, exposure, exposure.

If you are currently active and visible on social media, go all-out to make your brand more relevant than ever before. The magic word here is Engagement. Try new platforms and new ways of engaging your audience... they will follow.

Social media is all about being social. Have fun with it, be imaginative, engaging, and connected. Remember, always communicate your message clearly, consistently and continuously.

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