Social Media: A Business Maker or Deal Breaker?

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Social media is everywhere. For our generation especially, the Internet and networking sites are a part of our daily lives. People use social media to communicate with one another on both personal and professional levels. Businesses have begun using social media as a means of advertising and promoting their companies, so it’s no surprise that people are starting to consider it a tool for competitive advantage rather than something to do in your spare time.

Consulting firm Vivaldi Partners recently ranked a list of companies based on their use of social media and its effect on consumer awareness and purchases. Among the top 10 companies were household names like Amazon, Google, Target, and Dunkin’ Donuts.  These companies are smart in recognizing that social media is no longer just a small department within the company, but rather a main way to conduct business. And while it is true that larger firms (such as those mentioned above) have more economic resources to fund their social media sites, the true key to success is using your resources wisely.

Three big tips have been given to businesses that wish to improve their social presence and it’s effect on profits. The first is to have a strategy. Many companies get easily discouraged once the initial excitement fades away and immediate results aren’t seen. However, by planning ahead and tailoring your approach so that it will yield the results you want to see, one can easily increase their odds of success. To create an effective strategy, companies must consider not only the characteristics of the organization but also those of the audience, and tailoring their strategy to the social media site that best supports those characteristics.

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The second tip is to have plenty of content. In the fast-paced world of social media, companies must be able to bring new or unique ideas to the table almost daily. Content development strategies are absolutely necessary to keep your presence known online. By establishing what you want to accomplish and how you will get there, businesses will be able to allocate necessary positions to achieve this presence.

Finally, businesses must understand that success doesn’t happen over night. Social media presence may take months or years between design, installation, growth, and maturity. Companies should elect individuals to be in charge of watching trends, content development, calendar creation, writing, editing, photography, and video production, etc. Social media is extremely time consuming, with 43% of businesses stating it takes up 6+ hours of the workweek, every week.  Most likely, social media will become it’s own department in the coming years.

Overall, it’s obvious that social media is ever-present and is only going to continue to grow. Similar to operations, social media has become a product with a life cycle that has no foreseeable expiration date. It will continue to go through these cycles until a new product or platform is introduced.

While there are plenty of ways for social media to make your company, are there also ways in which it could break you? What are the disadvantages to having a presence on the Web?

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-03-20/how-to-run-an-effective-social-media-program

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