In its short, 30-year history, the internet has come to transform almost all areas of modern life – everything from how and where we work to the way we shop and find/watch media. However, while the web has changed our business and personal lives, one particular technology has utterly upended the online experience – namely, social media.
In the not-so-distant past, if you wanted to get your firm online, you would have needed to employ the services of a web design agency to develop a website and, hopefully, start building your online profile. With the advent of social media sites, all that changed and now anyone with an internet connection can have a personal or business page up and running in minutes and start reaching out to clients (existing and potential).
The power of posts
Social media has revolutionized publishing, putting firms big and small in control of their online profile and allowing customer penetration and reach on a scale never before possible. Where once firms would publish content on their corporate sites in the hope that visitors might take the time to come and read the content, nowadays companies can broadcast on social sites and their posts will appear automatically on their followers’ timelines. Furthermore, using social media marketing software, firms can now schedule the time of their posts to coincide with when the majority of their users are online to have a greater impact. Furthermore, the software can also offer useful insights on the effectiveness of posts.
‘Going viral’ – a phenomenon born by social media
Most of us are familiar with the ‘going viral’ concept but perhaps haven’t contemplated how it works in practice. When you consider the average Facebook user has 338 friends (obviously some have many more, some less) – if one of your followers shares your post, it has the potential to be seen by each of those 338 friends. Extend that process again with just one of those additional 338 also sharing your post it will have already reached almost 700 users. And so the phenomenon continues.
Viral posts have the potential to be seen by thousands – if not millions – and all at zero cost to your firm. It’s little wonder traditional media is having such a hard time in the social age with many traditional magazines, newspapers, radio and TV stations finding themselves unable to compete.
The importance of having a strong social presence
Today’s internet users expect firms to not just have a website but also be present across the major social platforms. Indeed, these days it’s not uncommon for customers to use social sites almost like search engines – an idea proven by the fact that YouTube is now the world’s second-biggest search engine, just behind Google (both platforms are owned by parent company Alphabet, which shows just how important its search-based platforms have become).
Posting regularly to social sites allows companies to build a stronger, two-way relationship with clients, making them feel actively involved in their brand and encouraging dialogue and reactions.
The major players in the social landscape
All firms are different and have different target markets, however, the mainstays in the world of social media typically include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Depending on your type of company, you might also consider Pinterest (particularly successful for clothing companies, especially women’s clothing) and LinkedIn.
While there are many, many other online social platforms, if you attempt to publish to all, you run the risk of spreading yourself too thin. You should constantly be mindful that the quality of your posts is the most important aspect of building a strong social media profile, so be wary of trying to take on too many accounts and potentially watering down your content.