Written by Robert Spence
As social media continues to evolve and change, businesses are now adapting and embracing these changes with open arms. Companies are no longer relying solely on flashy ad campaigns or well-constructed press releases to communicate with customers. The rules have changed. Businesses must decide if they want to reveal their human side and forge new relationships with customers, or stay stagnant and “old school.” Here are five ways social media for business is evolving.
#1. Visual Content Is More Important Than Ever
In this day in age, visual content is imperative for businesses. Consumers are on the go and busy and don’t have time to read everything they come across. That’s where pictures and videos come into play. The new players (or relatively new) on the block are the Vine, Pinterest, and Instagram. While most people have been using Pinterest and Instagram for years, businesses are just now starting to see traction from company profiles. All three of these social networks help to humanize your business while promoting your brand and other brands your company is passionate about. Never underestimate the power of grassroots, guerilla-style marketing. USAToday made a living utilizing colorful sections and big bright pictures. Visual storytelling is alive and well in today’s age of business and social media has revolutionized that for companies.
#2. Real-Time Reputation Management
For the first time ever companies are able to manage their reputation in real time. If someone is disgruntled with your product or service, they are able to post directly to your Facebook page, tag you in a tweet, blast your business on Yelp, review you on Google Places, and the list goes on. This is a great opportunity to directly reach out to an upset customer or client when it happens to solve their problem or issue within moments. Chances are when you provide someone with awesome customer service they will send out a tweet or status update of thanks. People do business with companies they trust - show your audience they can trust you to solve their problems and you will develop repeat customers.
Note: Make sure you hire a social media manager with customer service experience. A part of their job is reputation management. They need to be proactive not reactive.
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#3. Rather Than Talking, Businesses Are Listening
Traditional marketing implies you are screaming your message at consumers. Social media marketing is providing companies with the best opportunity to listen. Companies are able to really listen to their fans. The professional networking site Businessfriend, which allows for employers and employees to connect, provides vital tools for businesses to listen. You will get excellent feedback, suggestions, and concerns from the people that are passionate about your brand, and you can utilize this feedback to make your business better. To evolve as a business you have to listen to the people that keep you in business. Use the social platform to listen rather than screaming your message at consumers. You will be surprised what you hear.
#4. From “Hard To Reach” To “Available Everywhere”
Remember when the only way to contact a company was through an email or phone number? Not anymore! Social media has given businesses the ability to be reached 24/7 and that’s the way many businesses like it. Companies want people to be able to connect with them through whatever channel is more comfortable for them. Rather than expecting customers to communicate through your chosen means, companies are now allowing consumers to do so through their own means.
#5. Companies Are Being “Real”
Companies are infused with personality, just like an individual. The new era of social media has shifted companies from creating a very controlled and polished image that everyone in the company tries to reinforce, but rather gives employees the means to be human and put a friendly face on the corporation. By doing so, consumers are reacting in a positive manner. Social media has given a new way for companies to be “real” and not the pushy, nagging company that is constantly breathing down your neck to buy something. By just being themselves, social media has allowed for the personality of companies to shine through, making customers a lot more likely to interact and buy from them.