The Power of Social Connections

Social media marketing is the use of social media channels to connect with customers, build your brand recognition, and increase sales.  From its early beginnings, it has evolved into a very powerful and cheap way to grow your business.

I recently was able to have a quick question and answer session with Carlos from Pherona, a digital marketing firm in Orlando, FL. to discuss this new developing means of marketing.  You can find the video if you head over to the Polaris Strategies Facebook page.  Much of what has been done on this medium has allowed the easy conversation between businesses and customers to quickly fill demands, while building brand loyalty through customized interactions.  It has also allowed a greater flexibility in a business’s ability to target specific individuals for advertising, ensuring better return on investment.

The Early Beginnings

When social media began with Myspace, Friendster and Livejournal, businesses quickly moved into the sphere to attempt to connect with their customers.  This was primarily in the form of interactions was through blog posts, sharing a company’s knowledge or products.  This was moderately effective, but required quite a bit of diligence from customers to consistently log in and read the content being posted.  The 90’s also brought the dot com era where many companies established websites to advertise on search engines, allowing for an additional digital platform to market on.  Often the early social media platforms were rarely leveraged to the full extent to assist with a company’s digital footprint generation.  However, once web 2.0 was developed, the elements that were being used by businesses on the early social media outlets were integrated into their website, primarily in the form of blogs.  Marketers found that when they added quality content to their blogs on the company website, people would find them organically and become customers after getting curious about the company.  Begin the age of “inbound marketing”.

Modern Day Social Media

Inbound marketing replaced the traditional outbound marketing that consisted of a “buy, beg or bug” strategy.  The outbound marketing strategy required a company to seek out customers, but with inbound, they generated customers.  The advent of what can be considered modern social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin) allowed businesses to not only integrate their blogs, but also communicate with their customers in mediums that far exceeded the ones before.  The ability to not only target market elements for specific advertising, but also to be able to communicate with their customers in a public forum allowed companies to build a brand image in a more strategic and direct way.

Cautionary Tale

Recently, I was able to take my youngest daughter to a daddy-daughter date.  She is three and anyone who knows her knows that she thinks with her stomach, so we decided on tacos and ice cream after at a local shopping center I have been wanting to try.  I will not go into the details, but we did not have the greatest time or customer service.  Now I am the kind of person that brushes it off and enjoys my time with my daughter, so I decided to reach out privately to the restaurant through their official Facebook page with the intent to let the management know about the issue revolving around one of their servers.  After one week of waiting for a response (they still have not responded after 5 weeks), I got fed up and posted a public review explaining the issue.  Unfortunately, this company has not been taught the power of social media because my review is now seen by everyone looking at their Google profile.

Studies have shown that 83% of unhappy customers who post negative comments on social media, and then receive a response from the business are mollified.  This assists with the company’s ability to retain customers and fix the parts of their business that is not working before a large market share is impacted by a mistake, error, or discrepancy.

Strategy and Analytics

Social media also allows a company to set a more directed competitive strategy.  Leveraging the analytics in modern-day social media allows a company to better understand and fill the needs of their customers.  This also allows a company to analyze the way they spend advertising money to ensure the greatest impact to the organization, narrowing their market impact to any range of socio-economic, geographic or preference choices of potential customers that will improve their penetration of the ad.  Social media marketing also allows companies to reach customers they may not have even thought of through their follower’s connection networks.  This expands the range of potential customers, while “sharing” content allows customers to effectively refer someone to a company.  All of these benefits for a relatively low cost compared to more traditional marketing avenues.

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