Social networks are some of the most visited platforms on the internet. The most popular social networks have millions of users around the world. (If you want to know about the most used social networks you can read this article: Top 15 social media apps used in 2021). Social networks generate huge profits for their CEOs, this is because they have managed to sell unprecedented marketing campaigns. Although, having an account in a social media app is a marketing campaign in itself. Social networks have changed people and their way of buying is why they are now most important for business.
What is social media about?
Social media is part of our life. It is estimated that 3 billion people use social media, which makes up for 57% of the world’s population. This means that more than half of the people in the world have an account on some social network.
There’s a lot of bad press around social media. Netflix’s documentary, The Social Dilemma, reveals “secrets” of social networks that increase the level of attraction we feel towards them. There are even studies that show that social networks stimulate the production of dopamine in our brains, a hormone related to happiness and produced in stimulus-reward sequences. Precisely, that’s why they are so used, in social networks we receive rewards easily and immediately, upload a photo and get likes triggers this response and makes us want more. However, it is dishonest to say that social networks are 100% negative.
Although they indeed have these effects at the brain level, the origin of social networks has to do with connectivity between people. If we manage to dose our use of social networks and make more meaningful the time we spend on it, we can get many benefits from social networks. First of all, they are a way to find people, to learn about how they live in other parts of the world, and they are also good at raising awareness about different social problems.
One crucial thing about social media is that anyone can have a voice. Social media is the height of freedom of expression. It doesn’t take a multinational company or a celebrity, anyone can have a platform to be heard and that makes social networks extremely important. That’s exactly what social media is all about, opening up a conversation and creating community. These kinds of interactions impact business.
Fact: social media is important in business
In the introduction, we mentioned that social networks make money for their founders by offering marketing campaigns. This is not new news, since the beginning of Facebook, the business model was revolutionary. As the algorithms continue to be refined, social networks suggest things that are closer to what we want to buy. However, social media is important for business not only because of the advertising campaigns we can buy.
Social media brings us closer to our customers. A social media account should be thought of not only as a strategy to let us know (although social media apps are great to accomplish this purpose). You have to think of social media as a way to give a face and personality to your business. I mean, social media is important to business because it’s a vital part of a company’s branding.
Just as people interact with friends and family on social media, brands can interact with their customers. A good brand account will not only upload content by sponsoring your product, sales, or website but will seek to interact. For this, you will upload content similar to that of a personal account. An example is the Facebook account of Lay’s chips. They often upload funny meme-like content. This kind of post humanizes the brand. On the other hand, Lay’s responds to people’s comments in their publications, which is an organic interaction with their buyers. All this has a positive impact on how the brand is perceived.
Now, Lay’s is a huge company, but nothing prevents a small company from implementing the same thing. The resources are the same, anyone can show appreciation and allow their team members to be in the spotlight. In turn, answering comments, questions and messages is a very positive practice for all brands. It’s something that makes them feel closer to customers, that is, it gives them better customer service that is also transparent and everyone can see.
On the other hand, if your company (large or small), participates in practices that are badly seen, people will talk about it on social networks. A brand’s reputation can go to waste when people speak ill of it on social media. This is how many bad practices of some brands have been denounced, such as poor customer service of airlines or the use of extremely cheap labor of fast-fashion companies… Although these companies continue to operate they have had to change or redirect their practices (or at least show concern for the accusations) to please their customers.
The comments, likes, how often to respond to your messages… These are ways people will decide whether to trust your brand or not. When a person is considering buying a product or service from you, they will go to your website but they will also want to see your social networks know what people think of you, how you respond to your customers, and what reviews you have there. If your social media image isn’t good, I’ll probably be wary of purchasing with you.
So, on social media, you can buy marketing campaigns although this is not the only way you can take advantage of a platform. Having a social media account helps make you known and maintain a good image will drive people to want to be your customers. Interacting with your audience will speak well of you and give you organic visibility.
How to choose a social media app?
It is not worth having an account for all existing social networks. At the moment of creating a company, of course, we will need social networks but it is not worth jumping to create accounts for the most used if they are not in which our desired audience is located.
It is part of the marketing strategy to study which social media platforms are suitable for our brand’s purposes. An easy way to decide is through these key points:
- Research social media apps and their purposes. Understanding what they’re used for can help you decide which one is best for you.
- Consider your company profile. What do you do? A business that involves ate could benefit a lot from an Instagram account, perhaps a company that sells audiobooks, not so much.
- What social network is your audience on? Who do you want to sell to? Investigate your market sector and what social networks they use, so you’ll be in touch with them.
- Find out which social networks your competition uses. That might give you an idea of which social networks work and which don’t.
Social media is important to business for multiple reasons. On the one hand, a powerful marketing tool, although this is not limited to paid campaigns. It also has to do with approaching customers in a direct way that humanizes your brand. Leveraging social media to make your brand grow and be perceived is a smart marketing strategy.
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