Within the last 10 years social networking has become a booming business. Last year alone, social media companies are responsible for $10.5 billion in revenue. By 2015, researchers anticipate ad revenues will reach almost $30 billion. The question is… what businesses are getting in return for this investment. Initially, social media sites targeted college and high school students to give them a way to connect socially. But it quickly became apparent that there were significant opportunities for businesses as well.
To the younger generation, the commercialization of social media has been astounding; specifically with the competitive focus within the last couple of years. Not only are businesses now taking to social media to distribute their vision and gain market share, but to push products and services too. Similarly to advertising, some businesses are now being “promoted” on Twitter, meaning even if you are not following this account, their one hundred and forty character marketing slogans and positions can still show up on your newsfeed. Pinterest has recently given retailers a way to showcase products and services to people who might not even know about them. All of this being achieved through detailed analysis of what their potential customer’s interests are.
The changing face of social media doesn’t stop there. Nothing is free forever, and Facebook may be one of the first to capitalize on its popularity and is now charging corporations and businesses for the amount of “likes” they get when they post promotions.
Social media has proved to be an excellent marketing tool. It is a great way to promote your company, get your name heard, and attract potential clients. Those in the Marketing and Public Relations fields know how important getting your company name out into the public is. Most trending media buzz originates in social networking sites nowadays and can potentially enter into other mediums of media, reaching an even bigger demographic.
Social media can also give your company a competitive edge. Competition drives the business market; why not get one step ahead of everyone else? By following or liking your competitors, you will be able to see what they are doing and potentially jump ahead of them.
Another significant benefit of social media is customer service. By following your clients and customers you can improve your relationship with them and their feeling about you. Tracking their feedback and seeing their true opinions will be beneficial for both parties. Their thoughts are directly heard, and your company immediately knows how satisfied or unsatisfied your customers are. It is an easy way to know what aspects of your business needs improvements and what is successful.
Some social media sites give access to helpful tools that you can use to assist your company’s growth. For example, LinkedIn gives your company implements such as “Follower Statistics” and “Page Statistics.” These analytics give you immediate knowledge of who is watching you and what they like by displaying total followers, new followers, number of page views, total impressions, demographics, etc. These statistics are beneficial because you are able to understand how the public is responding to your company, ensuring that you are hitting your targeting demographic.
Social media has not only changed the way we interact with family and friends, but it has become a huge opportunity to gain market share and win the hearts and minds of corporate target audiences with an immediacy that has been unprecedented.
Revenue data from ComputerWorld.