The benefits of social media for companies – old hat?
Social media has now found its way into many people’s everyday lives. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to name a few examples, have millions of active users – and that means millions of people who might want to buy products and services. A well-maintained social media presence is key to a successful business. And it’s clear to see why: social media has a wide range of benefits for companies, and by identifying and strategically leveraging these, they can tap into new business areas more successfully.
The main advantage that social media offers to companies is that they can communicate directly with their target group. Whereas companies used to predominantly reach prospective buyers via paid and earned media, such as TV commercials or trade magazine articles, social media now provides a direct link to customers. Admittedly, this paradigm is not exactly new. However, by taking precisely this approach, exciting potential emerges for creating added value that makes a difference at every stage of business development.
Social media isn’t just a trend. That’s something that everyone who is responsible for a business should know. Against the backdrop of digitalization, social networking sites are now much more a part of our society and have become established as a fixed touchpoint.
State of the art: social media for business development
Social media is playing an ever-greater role in purchasing decisions and exerting a major influence on how we consume. This has been shown by numerous studies, such as PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey, where almost two-thirds of respondents stated that social media influences their purchases. Industry experts now regard social media as one of the most effective forms of advertising, making the networking sites an essential sales channel that companies should consider for their business development from the outset. To tap into new business areas nowadays, there is no way around Facebook and other platforms.
Utilizing the potential of social media for business development
Social media offers a vast array of opportunities for advertising new products and services – all while directly engaging with target groups. It’s all about interaction. While communication in traditional advertising was and is still one-sided and indirect, a communicative dialogue takes place today. Prospective and existing customers can be reached without having to go the long way around, and they in turn can give feedback just as directly.
Recognizing interaction as a success factor
Companies should involve their target groups as early as the development of new products and services. In this way, prospective buyers become active participants, sparking a discussion that promotes brand allegiance and at the same time generates solutions that cater to customer needs. This aspect also plays a vital role when launching and subsequently marketing a new business concept. By getting their target groups involved on social media, companies can boost their visibility and attract more prospective buyers to the discussion. Social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn are the ideal platform for doing just that. They’re called networking sites for a reason. Really impressed prospective customers will often even become multipliers themselves and voluntarily advertise new products or services.
Actively engaging with customers
Social media has also become a go-to communication channel for customer service and support. On Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms, customers can send product and support queries in just a few clicks and without all the usual red tape. Companies can then respond just as conveniently and easily. What’s more, responding to posts publicly ensures transparency and demonstrates service quality. That reinforces a positive brand image and builds trust right from the start. Here, it is important not to be scared of criticism. By confidently solving a problem, you’ll come across as a respectable and trustworthy provider.
Reach and win over highly sought-after skilled professionals
Recruitment is another big plus for social media. Finding qualified – and thus highly sought-after – personnel is extremely challenging for companies wanting to tap into new business areas. Headhunters and job portals don’t always have to be the answer here. After all, social media has just as wide a reach and is generally free to use. Social networking sites are indispensable to employer branding and perfectly suited to building an appealing employer image. Job postings can also be uploaded and shared here, with the latter even being done by users themselves in an ideal scenario.
Social media requires a strategy
If you want to develop new business areas, you need to make sure you have a sound strategy. That also applies to social networking sites. It must be clear to everyone responsible that social media isn’t about following a trend, but rather about leveraging specific value-creation potential. For that reason, an individual social media strategy should be part of your business development concept from the very start. The foundations need to be laid in both personnel and strategic terms. And the relevant departments, whether it be management, marketing, sales, or human resources, need to be brought on board to achieve this.
Tip: Take a look at our practical template for your social media planning. Our social media editorial plan is available here for free.