Social media… it’s all of the rage today! It is increasingly becoming a more integral element of people’s everyday lives, especially now that people can hold the planet within their pockets with cell phones which are Web enabled and have data packages. Since these day there are over two billion people — nearly one-third the entire world’s population — connected via social networking, it has become crucial, even critical, for businesses to make the most of the huge potential given to them by social media. Those who don’t make the most of this trend achieve this at their particular peril!
Dejavu All Over Again!
Some say we’re seeing the repeat of trends we saw at the turn of the century… around again. Although the Internet as a communication tool began October 29, 1969, celebrating the first communication between two distant computers, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in March of 1989, giving us the hyper-text markup language (HTML) that enables pages, links and browsers used all around the world to talk with each other. In the year 2000, the Web as we all know it was only eleven years old. Businesses were beginning to understand that the Internet was becoming bigger and bigger and was moving beyond the military (its original user), academia and business, and increasingly into people’s homes (and now… even their pockets!) Online shopping was gradually gaining on brick and mortar retail, competing more and more for shoppers’ dollars. Businesses that took advantage of the trend became more successful, whereas those that didn’t suffered as their competitors beat them in the internet marketplace.
Good examples that have made the headlines recently include Borders Books and Blockbuster Video. Borders didn’t believe the Web would become as big as it has and was soon upstaged by Amazon, who began employing their online platform for books and now sell nearly everything. Blockbuster Video, once noticed in so many communities, has now closed so many of these brick and mortar stores since Netflix came on the scene. Had it not been for Dish Network stepping in, most Blockbuster stores would have had to close. Now their trying to win back Netflix customers angered over recent fee hikes. Blockbuster is hoping to stay viable and relevant with their newest program.
Return on Investment… Bang for Your Buck!
The main point is that we’re seeing the same trend in operation today pertaining to social media. Business is starting to “humanize” and get back to that “get-to-know-you” feel of hometown businesses where business owners and customers often actually connect on an individual basis. Social networking is helping to create this personal feel on a much larger scale now, in the sense that people can stay digitally more connected than ever… even while they “cocoon” within their homes/offices and have less face-to-face communication.
While we could argue the ill social effects of that social trend, businesses can’t ignore it. By the very nature of what they do, those involved with network marketing, a.k.a. affiliate marketing or multi-level marketing, certainly can’t ignore it as a main tool for building down lines and expanding their business beyond their warm market of family and friends, many of whom may or may possibly not be thinking about a home-based business or work-at-home business opportunity, however quickly growing that trend is. The social networking explosion gets more and more attention. Business leaders are speaing frankly about it, authors are currently talking about it, and some say it’s just the beginning.
Business trend experts like Gary Vaynerchuk, author of The Thank You Economy, claim that we’re seeing the “calm ahead of the social networking storm” (see the web link to his MSNBC interview on YouTube by the end of the “LinkedIn” discussion below. It’ll blow your brain what he knows and envisions about the energy of social networking for business!). Many people in the business world haven’t yet jumped into social media. They’re sizing it down and calculating the return on investment… not realizing that the longer they wait, the more they stand to lose from the enormous potential of being able to manage to get thier brand, product(s), and service(s) out before potentially huge numbers of people in an incredibly cost effective way compared to traditional print and TV advertising media. Branding, name recognition, market share growth, customer loyalty, brand ambassadorship… are important goals of business enhanced via social media.
But We Have a Website!
Individual entrepreneurs, companies large and small, organizations, network marketers, affiliate programs, even nonprofit organizations that genuinely believe that having a web site is enough of an on the web presence today are sorely mistaken. Since so many current and potential customers and clients are engaged in social networking, they’re coming to anticipate more and more that businesses and organizations they keep company with will also be able to interact using them on social networking platforms. smm panel This worldwide recession we are in is making social networking platforms more important to keep relevant… to steadfastly keep up a presence, build customer loyalty, and just survive.
I’m Broke… I Have a Limited Budget!
Those on a restricted marketing budget will discover out that social networking marketing is quite cost-effective, with a great return on investment compared to traditional, non-trackable types of advertising. Having a worker devote even element of his/her time keeping social networking current is really worth the effort and expense in the added, perceived value it will generate, providing details about your products, services, news, sales, deals, etc., and potentially increasing your customer/client base tremendously in the process.
Blogging, as an example, is a simple way to create an outreach program for the brand, company, organization, etc., that won’t only raise awareness of who you are and everything you do, but raise your credibility with an ever-growing, social-media-savvy public. They will be able to share both positives and negatives about their experience along with your products and/or service, especially if you respond to them. They will develop more confidence in your brand, feel more connected for your requirements, and develop more loyalty. They will more likely become the willing ambassadors for the brand, product, or service that you want them to be! Also… those who DO have a web site, which will be normally used to offer information, take orders, etc., will in all probability see increased traffic on their sites which can lead to increased sales… and a rise in your return on the investment you manufactured in your social networking campaigns. On top of that is that a lot of social networking platforms can be found FOR FREE, or with little actual monetary investment relevant to other types of traditional advertising, and with greater return on investment.
A Growing Trend… Better Jump On the Bandwagon!
Some estimate the number of social networking sites at 30,000 and growing by 300 new sites monthly! So, to prevent the pitfalls of starting at the incorrect place, the most effective places to begin are with the current top giants, like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn. You would like your web visitors to get at know you first. You want to share useful information with them… information that’s educational, informative, entertaining, even funny… but valuable You don’t wish to accomplish outright selling of one’s goods and services in social networking, which will be more for engaging your web visitors or potential customers. You want to lead your web visitors to your website, and that’s where you is going to do your selling!