Social Media for Business: Ignore it at Your Own Peril [FACT]

Social media marketing is transforming the way businesses think.  Social media is affecting how consumers make buying decisions. In the same way the assembly line changed manufacturing at the turn of the last century and the internet changed the way businesses operated in the 1990s, social media is changing the way consumers think and talk to each other today. Because your business must understand how to nimbly respond to changing market dynamics, social media tools can no longer be ignored.

Social Media Statistics

  • By 2010, Twitter had over 70 million users. In the last year, that number has climbed to 175 million.
  • Over the same period, LinkedIn doubled its number of users from 50 million to 100 million.
  • In the last year, Facebook has grown to 750 million users.
  • Half of Facebook users use it every day. Another 65 million access it from their mobile phones.

Re-defining the 4 Ps

The shift from traditional, mass media marketing toward an integrated approach can be described in terms of integrated marketing vs. traditional marketing. In this model, cost wins over price, knowing the consumer trumps marketing your products features, convenience triumphs over place, and communication wins the race over promotion.

Social Media Benefits

Your Business will benefit from mastering social media tools across a number of important metrics.

1. Your customers are using social media. Customers are talking about what they want, need, like and don’t like in real time. When your business taps into this data stream, you connect on a personal level. Businesses catch trends and market shifts as they happen.

2. Stock management. Your company is less likely to be caught with a warehouse full of outdated inventory or unfilled back orders if you are listening to your customers in real time.

3.  You can become aware of problems sooner. For multi-location businesses, you will hear about customers’ experiences with your company via social media before a disgruntled customer will call in and complain. Marketing research shows that the average person tells three people about a pleasant experience, and 10 about an unpleasant experience with a local business. Social media marketing gives you the opportunity to personally monitor the quality of your company’s customer service.

4.  Reduce cost and increase efficiency. Your business will reduce marketing costs, and increase your marketing efficiency by using social media. Electronic marketing is free. There are no printing, paper, postage or mailing costs. By dedicating one person to social media marketing, you will reach thousands and could reach potentially hundreds of thousands of consumers who are waiting to hear more about your brand. It’s not the size of the business but the speed that matters.

Putting Social Media Into Context

Prior to social media and social media marketing, traditional marketing worked because businesses used mass media tools to reach the greatest number of people. Their efforts connected with enough consumers who wanted a specific product that their marketing generated financial return. Social media has turned that model on its head. It’s opened up thousands of unique marketing channels direct to customers. Consumers no longer have to settle for the product that is the closest to what they really want. With a few clicks, they can talk to friends around town and around the country to discover details of the perfect product for their tastes, needs and budget.

The social media approach is data driven, based on consumer demands and businesses can connect to these demands in real time. Isn’t that what marketing is all about?

In a Nutshell…

The rise of social media is changing the way people spend their free time and their money. If businesses are going to have effective marketing campaigns,  they must be aware of these trends. In short social media marketing equals sales.

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Omar Kattan is Chief Strategy Officer at Sandstorm Digital, the MENA region's first specialist content marketing agency headquartered in Dubai. His experience includes 10 years in traditional marketing and advertising in the Middle East and a further 10 years at two of the largest media agencies in the UK. Follow Omar on Twitter for updates on the latest in digital, branding, advertising and marketing.

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  • Andy Morgan

    More
    companies are moving away from traditional marketing towards Internet
    Marketing. In the 1990s advertisers focused on mediums like T.V, radio, and
    print for their advertising needs, but now companies are accepting that
    Internet Marketing is more effective and cost-effective. In traditional
    marketing it is more difficult to quantify results and brand awareness.
    However, in Internet Marketing we can keep track of these through analytics
    tools.

    Regards,
    Business Gifts

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