Using Social Media Sites to Monetize Business and Connect with Customers
Just a decade ago very few people had even heard of social media sites, but now these sites dominate the internet. In fact, networking sites are giving tough competition even to search engine giants. These changes were brought in by web 2.0 technologies. Before the availability of these technologies, the internet was static and users could only search and view the contents. It was difficult to interact with other internet users online. The web 2.0 technologies and social media sites have changed all that. Now millions of people visit these sites to communicate and share with family members, friends, and people who share the same interests. No business can ignore the presence of such a large number of consumers assembling at one location online.
Nowadays it is difficult to find a company that does not have a presence on networking sites. Some companies have been unable to translate their efforts and time spent on networking sites into higher sales. On the other hand, many companies have had great success using these sites. They have retained their existing customers and at the same time attracted new ones. It is important to understand the techniques and tricks used by these companies to better take advantage of social media sites. These sites are especially useful for small businesses that face a high barrier when trying to use traditional media outlets for marketing.
Websites with social media features provide an excellent option to market and promote products and services at the fraction of the cost involved with advertising through traditional media. But without proper planning and knowledge it can be tough to market on these sites because both large and small companies are using them. These sites are highly competitive. It requires great effort and skill to get noticed in this crowd by the consumers. However, this pessimistic perception is only seen when one looks at these sites superficially. To really take advantage of networking sites, it is important to dig deeper and find the secrets of social media success.
The secret lies in using the right tools, techniques, and features available not only from these sites, but also from independent developers. Social media sites provide specific tools to their marketers to reach target consumers at minimum cost. The basic promotion methods are available for free. Any business can open an account, post useful and informative content about product or services, and start connecting with other users. This type of marketing effort can be improved by complementing the basic campaign with use of social media advertising.
Using specific tools provided by social media sites makes is possible to target a specific group of consumers. For example, a restaurant in a city can show its promotional contents only to those viewers who are from the same area. Consumers can be further segmented based on age, gender, nationality, and other factors. This type of customization is not possible with traditional advertising where advertisements are shown even to people who would not have any interest in buying the advertised product.
Businesses have realized the advantages of marketing and promoting through social media sites. Every penny is spent only on targeted users who would really be interested in buying the advertised product or service. These sites work as a form of word-of-mouth advertising that does not cost anything. People are always looking for products and services useful to them. When they find such a product, they want to share the information about it with their family members and friends, who in turn want to share it further with their own groups. This ripple effect is what makes the social media sites so useful for businesses.
Over the years, many businesses have realized that they can obtain more consumers through social media sites than through traditional advertising and promotion methods. At the same time, social media sites are not only about marketing and promotion. These sites also allow companies to connect with their consumers in a more personal way. When traditional media is used for advertising, it takes time before the consumers’ responses and feedback can be aggregated and analyzed.
This problem is eliminated by using networking sites where businesses can get immediate feedback related to new launches. The project development team can directly interact with end users and immediately learn about flaws in the products. Customer queries and complaints can be handled more efficiently and faster. If a customer complains through a retailer then it can take weeks before the matter reaches the right person or team responsible for the problem. Social media makes it possible to quickly check whether the same problem is being experienced by other users as well.
While networking sites can be advantageous to businesses, these sites can also work in a negative way. Even negative contents can go viral quickly and cause damage to the company’s reputation. Small businesses that fail to keep track of these sites may find that they are unable to keep up with the latest information. On the Internet, even the loss of a few minutes or hours in countering the allegations can prove damaging. Most companies deal wiith this problem by hiring independent social media professionals. These are companies that specialize in social media optimization services. They employ professionals specializing in different aspects of social media. Outsourcing such a task to an independent contractor makes it easy to focus on the main promotion campaign.
Businesses also need to make contents of their websites shareable. They need to study various aspects of social media sites and learn how to take advantage of the available tools and features. Getting support from other companies and professionals specializing in social media optimization is a good idea. There are hundreds of web tools that help monetize social media sites in the most effective ways. The term social media can mean different things to different people, but the basic idea remains the same – these sites make it easy for online users to share contents, communicate in real-time, and form groups around personal interests. There are a number of websites that offer such services in different ways. Before starting any marketing campaign, a proper study of the way these sites function should be done.