Taking your business social — pros and cons of the social media revolution
Social media revolutionised the way people interact with each other when it first emerged, and its strategies quickly enticed businesses in creating accounts to not only promote their companies but also sell to a brand new audience.
Nowadays, many businesses operate online without requiring their own website thanks to their social media accounts, eliminating costs and maintenance while gaining access to a community of now 2 billion active users on Facebook only! Your social media accounts can provide any information your customers may search online, such as your opening hours, trading addresses and contact details — but certain features make them almost more appealing than owning your website!
- Low Maintenance
Creating, maintaining and updating your website not only requires a certain level of IT knowledge, it also requires time, money and resources. Social media accounts can be updated within minutes, with new content uploaded through a new tweet, a new status or a new post. You can easily update your profile picture and description, amend your opening hours in a couple of clicks and add new articles within seconds for the world to see.
While this is great and accessible to virtually anyone with basic computer skills, social media accounts can be somewhat limiting when attempting to represent your brand online as they tend to stick to the same model for all pages. If your company is usually represented by a specific set of colours, you probably will have to make do with showing them in your profile picture rather than customise the entire page in your suits. This means that the one defining factor to set your account apart from your competitors’ will be in the quality of the content you upload rather than in your design efforts.
- Instant Communication with your Customers
It has never been easier for your customers to get in touch with you and your team than it has become in the age of social communities. Customers can share their feedback with you and other customers on your social media account or ask you questions about your services or particular products. The communication also goes the other way around: you can instantly share great news about your business, new lines or ask your customers’ opinions within seconds and reach all of them at the same time!
We have now entered a new age where customers expect to be listened to and responded to through social media, and the future holds some incredible tools sure to revolutionise this new relationship even further with the introduction of chatbots, smart buttons and virtual reality. There are downfalls to this too: you are not always in control of what others can post to your accounts, and negative feedback and comments could really hurt your business if you do not act quickly and appropriately. Ensure you respond to complaints, report any use of bad language and block users that have never traded with you but seem to have a personal vendetta against your business (more commonly referred to as “trolls”).
You can decide to disable any comments, reviews or posts from other users to your page if the idea of having very little control gives you cold sweat, although this could give the wrong idea to customers as it severs the inherently social aspect of your social media accounts. Moreover, protecting your social media pages will not prevent feedback, comments and posts on other pages you do not own, which could be even harder for you to act upon.
- A Worldwide Audience
As stated above, there are now 2 billion active Facebook users, making it the most popular social platform today. This gives you an incredible, never-before-seen, always expanding contact list. Viral posts — where a photo, video or article is seen across the globe by millions of people in a very short period of time — have changed the way information spreads from one person to the other. If your business comes with great ideas, products or services, a clever tweet, Instagram picture or status update could reach customers in places you may not have had the chance to explore before the invention of social media! Next time you browse on social media, just look out for what other businesses post on their accounts and the amount of “likes” and “views” they have amassed — this could be a great place to start to get inspiration for your own viral post.
You can add quick “call to action” buttons on your profiles, such as an “Email us” or “Call” button. These have become essential now that most social media platforms are accessed through our smartphones, as it enhances the customer experience and gives the entire interaction process a smooth and painless flow.
Social media has changed the way we do business and, perhaps more importantly, the way we are expected to do business. Although the idea of having your business talked about around the world 24/7 can either sound enticing or keep you up at night in fear, it is virtually inevitable that someone somewhere will be mentioning your company on a social media platform. Posting regular and relevant content will ensure that your social business profile is respected, and chances are the more you interact with your customers the more your customers will want to interact with you. Social media can be a great platform for marketing, selling and ensuring your customers are satisfied — Why not share the love and like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and check out our Instagram?