Social Media has undoubtedly revolutionized the 21st century and with the number of users rising exponentially, it is the next big outlet that communities and businesses should focus their time and resources on. With 38% of the world’s population using media and counting; it would be in any businesses best interest to invest in it. Even if you don’t plan to grow your community to the point where it becomes massive, social media gives you the opportunity for free advertisement and creates brand loyalty.
The Power of Social Media
Social Media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram allow users to not only “like”, but also retweet & share it with others; which could result in the post spreading to thousands if not tens of thousands of people. This brings some of the people to the posters page where they can then browse other posts and lead them down a rabbit hole of shopping. By posting beautiful shots of products or even a mix of product news and comedy, companies social media pages allow them to attain a wide-spread audience. For example, the Twitter page for Wendy’s can often be found making various jokes that millennial’s find amusing. These jokes are then spread across the internet through screenshots, retweets and more which only brings more attention to the brand. Sprout Social found that people are 71% more likely to buy from a brand that they had a positive experience with. Broken down: 48% said it was because the brand was responsive, 38% said because they offered interesting visuals and 36% said because they were funny. Wendy’s seemed to capitalize on this because they now have a following of 2.81 million, double that of their competitors, which allows them to advertise their products to an enormous audience. In a study done by Forbes, they found that with people spending more time on social media, it also becomes their go-to source for information on products or brands (Shaw, Atanu). This means that companies like Wendy’s, who appeal to the main audience of these platforms, will be attracting new users to their brand page. WeAreSocial published data on platform growth between 2017 and 2018 which showed astonishing growth across the board. Facebook grew by 15%, 296 million new signups while Instagram grew by 33%, 200 million new signups. These numbers are only projected to continue rising for following years as more countries acquire internet access. Social media will essentially control the world and companies that can master the game have the world in their hands. By use of “retweets”, shares and “likes” companies are not only able to gather a loyal following, but also receive free advertising.
Advertising isn’t cheap, and many small businesses simply won’t be able to afford it, which is why having a strong social media presence is crucial. If the business is able to appeal to people in some unique way, such as their online interactions or rewards, then their own customers and even others would be advertising their business for them through the process of sharing. One example of a company that is making the most of social is called 4food, a fast food restaurant. They allow anyone to make their own burger, name it and save it to the companies’ menu. Then, for every sale that the burger makes, the creator earns 25 cents on their 4food card which incentivizes people to spread both their burger and the name of the restaurant on social media; effectively giving 4food free advertisement. The best type of advertisement is from people recommending your business to their friends or family because recommendations from those close to you are going to have more of an impact than advertisements on TV. However, conforming to fit the customers’ needs isn’t always easy, but social media allows business to easily accomplish this.
Being able to receive instant customer feedback is something that business have long desired and social media makes that easy to access. Posting previews of products, before they’re mass produced, can potentially save companies hundreds of thousands of dollars if the concept design is disliked. However, if the product is well-received, social media would act as a free form of advertising as people begin to eagerly wait in anticipation for the products release. Essentially, social media offers the business the ability to test a concept for a product on a wide group of people; free of cost. Social media also allows for the business to directly communicate with the customer; which means that businesses can offer easy support right from their office. Call centers, which also provide support for customers, don’t put the businesses willingness to correct mistakes in public view which lessens its usefulness. Social media allows companies to show customers that they care about them by responding to complaints directly and taking steps then and there to fix them. Not only will that individual be satisfied, but other people will see that the company cares for their customers and will go the extra mile to help them out; which can then improve the brand image. Social media has not only made it easy for businesses to communicate with their customers, but it has also helped create more brand loyalty.
Brand loyalty is something that most businesses strive for because they then have a customer base that is locked in to their product. Social media is a big player in the modern world for businesses because now people can follow their page directly, and the business can connect directly with the customer. In fact, sprout social found that people are 57% more likely to purchase from a brand they follow on social media compared to a brand they don’t follow. A survey of 5700 marketers revealed that 69% of them are developing loyal followers for their brands through social media marketing. They also found that 66% of social media users between 18 and 24 years old are loyal to the brands they follow on social media. This could just be due to the fact that people tend to follow the brands they like anyway, so it skews the data. However, Forbes found people believed that businesses who engaged with clients and followers on social media were more focused on providing better service than those who didn’t. Meaning companies such as Wendy’s, who are appealing to the modern generation, are actually attracting not only current customers but also new customer through social media. A businesses online presence and how they interact with others plays a big part in influencing brand loyalty but is also an easy way of bringing attention to themselves.
People starting new communities should focus on Social media as an avenue for growth and direct substantial resources to growing their presence.
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