Social media has, in some instances, changed the way that businesses structure themselves. In the past, businesses would have had departments to engage in market research such as determining target demographics, doing competitor analysis, and getting consumer feedback with regards to new products or services. These were often costly exercises that took time to carry out, analyze and implement the results of. Social media has changed all that. With a minimal budget it is now possible to have one’s finger on the pulse of an industry, the market leaders therein, as well as its consumer base. Positioning one’s brand accordingly has never been easier.
Social media is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Many startups ask the question: “Is social media for us?” The answer is both yes as well as no. Different brands employ different operating models and strategies to reach their clients. Different products and services will necessarily be bought, used or utilized by individuals or organizations with their own unique needs and requirements. Different social media platforms will therefore appeal to different brands according to the nature of the content found on them, as well as the social makeup of persons who frequent them. There may have been a time when a presence on every conceivable platform was desirable, but the demands for return on investment (ROI) now dictate that a social media strategy be drawn up to identify a brand’s unique identity, isolate what format works best for it, and then short list only those platforms with the desired synchronicity between function and the persons who frequent them. Word of mouth being regarded as the most effective marketing resource, one ultimately wants the right people to see your products or services, and share them with their friends and family. While virality doesn’t guarantee success, success is usually borne out of virality.
Whether you want to generate leads, increase web traffic to your website, or simply share content at the speed of thought, there is a social media solution for your business. It will ultimately be cheaper, put your product or service in front of the right people, and provide you with real time data to act on until such time as your own unique requirements have been met. The question you should be asking yourself isn’t “can I afford to use social media?” but rather, “can I afford not to?”