I was at a marketing meeting lately, representing a major consulting firm. I was extremely surprised to learn how social media can affect the overall performance of a firm. This inspired me to research the vast impact social media had on firms. Over the last decade, competition has changed significantly. The way business is carried out these days has also changed significantly. Firms had to have an office to operate in the last century. With all of the changes, firms have had to embrace social media so that they can stay ahead of competitors.
Social media presence is the use of the Internet to spread information about a business, accomplish branding and learn the desires of consumers through indulgence in constant communication. Building a strong social media presence takes creating websites to share knowledge and syndicating advertisements regarding products and services. Firms must build online communities so that they can communicate directly and quickly with their customers. It is imperative for businesses to be on social media these days.
Corporations like Pepsi and McDonalds have established major online presences. Facebook has over one billion users logging in once a month these days. If a company can reach even a small portion of those users, it can go a long way for the company. The cost of reaching an audience on social media sites is much more cost effective than other advertising mediums too. These are the main reasons why companies are hurrying to create their social presences.
The Negative Aspect Of Social Media
Social media platforms can be double-edged swords. An executive of Sensei Marketing, Jeff Wilson, has stated that social networks have negative effects too. Social media users can network anonymously. Due to this, they can do as they please without feeling guilt or remorse. They don’t have any real accountability. This can cause defamation of a firm’s products as well as its reputation.
An example of the negative effects of social media is the #McDstories crisis. It was the direct result of online defamation of McDonalds. People went online and posted negative stories and comments about the company. Firms who do have strong social presences can counter such attacks much easier than those firms who do not have social presences at all.
Creating A Social Presence
There are multiple ways for a company to establish a social presence. Multinational companies can create Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. They can use these platforms to advertise their products. In order to gain popularity, the company must be astute to social issues that are relevant to their audience. For example, if a country is suffering from the poor treatment of their labour force, a company can use this to their advantage by spreading petitions in favour of the workers and supporting the victims. Doing such facilitates branding and earns companies benevolent reputations.
For local businesses, they can partner with local organisations and support local causes through Facebook and Twitter. They can effectively manage their corporate responsibility and share their information through these methods and make sure it reaches consumers. Creating an online social community can help in organizing events that support local communities and this will increase brand popularity. It also gives prospective business partners avenues to learn more about the business.
The concept that drives social presence is treating the target audience’s causes as the company’s causes to establish positive reputations and rapport with communities. This creates trust and spreads goodwill. While this happens, the company spreads its brand information and attracts consumers and partners alike. The continuous flow of communication makes it easy to provide over-the-top customer service too.