Social Media Means Money for Businesses

This is a paper I wrote for my Broadcasting class on the benefits of Social Media for business.

Like the title suggests, there is money to be made and money to be saved for businesses through the use of social media. Social media is a growing sector of the Internet and has over taken porn as the number one activity on the web.

Onlinematters.com defines social media as; any for of online publication or presence that allows users to engage in multi-directional conversations in or around the content of the website.  For a business this is huge, because over half of the country’s households have the Internet, which gives them access to tell multitudes of people what they think or feel about something. A person in Miami can have a bad experience at a store and if they choose to post their story, people in Denver can hear about it within the matter of minutes.

For most of us we see social media and social networking as a way to meet new people and stay in touch with friends. Businesses see social media in a different light. Businesses are online to make friends with the hopes that these people will tell their friends. Some people call this word of mouth marketing. For businesses this is an effective way to reach people without spending much money. Most forms of social media are free to join and easy to use.

There are a bunch of players in the game of social media, but there are a few that stick out more than the rest. The big names include the social networking site Facebook.com, the microblogging site, Twitter.com, and the regular blogging site, WordPress.com.  These three sites are widely used by businesses to engage their customers and also promote their business.

Facebook is the biggest name in the social media business. The site has over 500 million users worldwide. Users are able to meet people, share photos, create events, interact with friends and businesses, and basically share every detail of their lives online. Because of everything that Facebook has to offer, people are spending great amounts of time on the site.

Businesses are able to use people’s addiction to Facebook to their benefit. Companies that use Facebook are able to create pages similar to the individuals pages. The pages that are created cost nothing for the businesses and allow them to add friends in order to create awareness.  The features of the site are beneficial because one of the major hassles of business is trying to get people to recognize the brand. By having Facebook businesses are able to save the advertising money for other areas of the business and create that recognition all at the same time.

Once a business adds friends to their page, there is an enormous amount of things that can be done to engage the customer. Through Facebook companies are able to keep their consumers updated on the newest products and latest deals without having to advertise them through the regular forms of media. By using this as a way to get information out, businesses are able to hit their target market directly. Businesses can also use the site to get suggestions from their customers and ask for referral business.

Free tools to promote business are not the only things that Facebook offers. As a way of funding the site, Facebook allows people to advertise on the sidebar of the page. The advertising on the site is great because companies can pick what type of people they want to reach and how much money they want to spend. This way of advertising is better than TV and radio advertising because the business is able to hit the exact person they want without wasting money on uninterested people. Businesses are greatly benefited through the use of this social networking site

Another big name in the social media circle is Twitter.com. Twitter is a microblogging site where users have 140 characters of space to post whatever they want. People choose to follow friends they know and businesses they frequent in order to stay up to date with the times. Not all people use Twitter though, from polls in various college classrooms, Twitter is one of the least used forms of social media by students. Businesses, however, use Twitter all of the time.

Twitter, like Facebook, allows companies to keep their customers current with products and deals. Twitter is also a great place to conduct customer service and offer ordering services. Businesses like Best Buy allow their customers to ask questions through Twitter and they have trained staff that will answer the questions as soon as they can.  Another business, Coffeegroundz, in Houston, Texas uses Twitter as a way for customers to place to-go orders. Both companies are great examples of how companies can take a free service made for individuals and use it to interact with customers and ultimately make more money.

The last of the social media giants we will talk about is WordPress.com. WordPress is a blogging Web site that allows users to create their own personal page and write in it like a journal. Besides writing, WordPress allows users to upload photos and videos, and also make comments on other blogs.

Businesses can use WordPress as a way to get more into depth about things going on with the company. People on Facebook and Twitter aren’t interested in reading the technical parts of products or the news associated with the businesses and that’s why there are limits to the information that can be posted. With WordPress a company can post all the specs of their new product, how the product works, and who uses their products.

For a basic blog site there is no cost associated with the space. Bigger companies that require more bandwidth and have a higher rate of traffic, however, can pay up to $12,500 a month. Companies who use WordPress usually use it in conjunction with Twitter or Facebook because the blogs aren’t as easy to follow by themselves.

Businesses are able to receive great benefits through the use of social media tools. Most of the tools nowadays can be accessed through mobile phones, which gives the companies a greater chance of interacting with their consumers. TV, newspaper, and radio advertising are still prevalent in the industry, but will probably all suffer as businesses become more technologically literate. If you are in the area of advertising or public relations and have never used these sites, it might be time to pick up the computer or pick a new field of study. The use of social media by businesses will only grow, learn it now or get left behind.

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About darrinruns

Avid runner Ad Major Always Thinking

Posted on August 10, 2011, in School, Social Media, Web Design. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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