Social media… it’s all the rage today! It is increasingly being a more integral element of people’s everyday lives, especially now that individuals can carry the planet inside their pockets with cell phones which can be Web enabled and have data packages. Since there are now over two billion people — nearly one-third the whole world’s population — connected via social networking, it is becoming crucial, even critical, for businesses to take advantage of the huge potential given for them by social media. Those who neglect to take advantage of this trend do so at their very own peril!
Dejavu All Over Again!
Some say we’re seeing the repeat of trends we saw at the turn of the century… all over again. Although the Internet as a communication tool began October 29, 1969, celebrating the very first communication between two distant computers, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in March of 1989, giving us the hyper-text markup language (HTML) that enables pages, links and browsers used all over the world to interact with each other. In the entire year 2000, the Web as we know it was merely a eleven years old. Businesses were beginning to understand that the Internet was becoming bigger and bigger and was moving beyond the military (its original user), academia and business, and increasingly into people’s homes (and now… even their pockets!) Online shopping was gradually gaining on brick and mortar retail, competing more and more for shoppers’ dollars. Businesses that took benefit of the trend became more successful, whereas those who didn’t suffered as their competitors beat them in the web marketplace.
Good examples that have made the news recently include Borders Books and Blockbuster Video. Borders didn’t believe the Web would become as huge as it has and was soon upstaged by Amazon, who began utilizing their online platform for books and now sell more or less everything. Blockbuster Video, once observed in so many communities, has closed so many of their brick and mortar stores since Netflix came on the scene. Had it not been for Dish Network stepping in, most Blockbuster stores could have had to close. Now their wanting to win back Netflix customers angered over recent fee hikes. Blockbuster is hoping to remain viable and relevant making use of their newest program.
Return on Investment… Bang for Your Buck!
The key point is that we’re seeing an identical trend in business today regarding social media. Business is just starting to “humanize” and return to that “get-to-know-you” feel of hometown businesses where business owners and customers often actually connect on an individual basis. Social media marketing is helping to create this personal feel on a much larger scale now, in the sense that individuals can stay digitally more connected than ever… even as they “cocoon” inside their homes/offices and have less face-to-face communication.
While we are able to argue the ill social effects of the social trend, businesses can’t ignore it. By the nature of what they do, those involved with network marketing, a.k.a. affiliate marketing or multi-level marketing, certainly can’t ignore it as a key tool for building down lines and expanding their business beyond their warm market of family and friends, many of whom may or may possibly not be enthusiastic about a home-based business or work-at-home business opportunity, however quickly growing that trend is. The social networking explosion gets more and more attention. Business leaders are speaing frankly about it, authors are authoring it, and some say it’s just the beginning.
Business trend experts like Gary Vaynerchuk, author of The Thank You Economy, say that we’re seeing the “calm ahead of the social networking storm” (see the hyperlink to his MSNBC interview on YouTube at the conclusion of the “LinkedIn” discussion below. best smm panel It will blow your brain what this man knows and envisions about the power of social networking for business!). Many people in the business world haven’t yet jumped into social media. They’re sizing it down and calculating the return on investment… not realizing that the longer they wait, the more they stand to reduce on the enormous potential of being able to manage to get thier brand, product(s), and service(s) out facing potentially thousands of people in an exceptionally cost effective way in comparison to traditional print and TV advertising media. Branding, name recognition, market share growth, customer loyalty, brand ambassadorship… are important goals of business enhanced via social media.
But We Have a Website!
Individual entrepreneurs, companies large and small, organizations, network marketers, affiliate programs, even nonprofit organizations that genuinely believe that having a web page is sufficient of an online presence today are sorely mistaken. Since so many current and potential customers and clients are engaged in social networking, they’re coming to expect more and more that businesses and organizations they keep company with may also be able to interact with them on social networking platforms. This worldwide recession we’re in is making social networking platforms more important to stay relevant… to keep a presence, build customer loyalty, and just survive.
I’m Broke… I Have a Limited Budget!
Those on a small marketing budget will find out that social networking marketing is extremely cost-effective, with a good return on investment in comparison to traditional, non-trackable types of advertising. Having a member of staff devote even element of his/her time keeping social networking updated is really worth the time and effort and expense in the added, perceived value it can create, providing information regarding your products, services, news, sales, deals, etc., and potentially increasing your customer/client base tremendously in the process.
Blogging, for instance, is an easy way to create an outreach program for the brand, company, organization, etc., that’ll not only raise awareness of who you’re and everything you do, but increase your credibility with an ever-growing, social-media-savvy public. They will have a way to fairly share both positives and negatives about their experience with your products and/or service, especially if you respond to them. They’ll develop more confidence in your brand, feel more connected for you, and develop more loyalty. They’ll more likely become the willing ambassadors for the brand, product, or service you want them to be! Also… people who DO have a web page, that is normally used to provide information, take orders, etc., will most likely see increased traffic on the sites which will result in increased sales… and an increase in your return on the investment you made in your social networking campaigns. On top of that is that a lot of social networking platforms are available FOR FREE, or with little actual monetary investment strongly related other designs of traditional advertising, and with greater return on investment.
A Growing Trend… Better Jump On the Bandwagon!
Some estimate the number of social networking sites at 30,000 and growing by 300 new sites per month! So, to avoid the pitfalls of starting at the incorrect place, the very best places to start are with the current top giants, like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn. You want your web visitors to get at know you first. You want to share useful information with them… information that is educational, informative, entertaining, even funny… but valuable You don’t might like to do outright selling of your goods and services in social networking, that is more for engaging your web visitors or potential customers. You want to lead your web visitors to your website, and that is where you is going to do your selling!