The following article is a guest post by Christian Arno.
More and more companies are using social media to promote their business and connect with customers – it is now an essential part of the marketing mix for most businesses.
Social media platforms, such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, forums and more, have a number of advantages for companies, and are fast overtaking traditional media formats such as print and TV ads, brochures, flyers and email campaigns. Here’s why…
Traditional media can be extremely expensive, especially for small businesses. However, most social media is completely free to use and the only cost to businesses is the time staff need to spend updating profiles and interacting with customers and contacts.
Businesses can use social media to create and distribute articles, videos, audio and more for a fraction of what it would cost for this content to appear in traditional media.
Access for all
In many ways, social media levels the playing field for businesses, as it is accessible to anyone, regardless of the size of their company, its turnover, or their contacts. Social media tools can be accessed by anyone, whereas access to traditional media can require a lot of money and a good network of media industry contacts.
Traditional media production can require a high level of skill, training and specialist equipment. However, social media channels are extremely simple to use, even for people with basic IT experience, and only a computer and internet connection are required.
It’s true that traditional media can reach a global audience too, but this is extremely costly in most cases. Through social media, businesses can instantly reach a global audience as easily as they can reach customers based locally. It’s easy to tailor your content for each market segment, too.
If you happen to hit the jackpot and produce a piece of content that does go viral, as well, there’s no limit to the amount of people you can reach at no extra cost – the trick is in hitting that sweet spot that makes content eminently shareable.
Get to know your customers
Social media offers unprecedented opportunities to build relationships with your customers, largely due to its real-time and participatory nature. Companies can source feedback, test ideas and manage customer services quickly and directly, in a way that they can’t with traditional media.
Traditional media marketing is one-way, but with social media customers can choose the messages they receive and seek out. The proximity that social media offers between businesses and their customers also offers opportunities to really communicate, rather than simply push out sales messages.
With social media, companies can be extremely flexible and adapt instantly. Information can be updated, altered, added to and commented upon in a way that’s impossible in a printed advertisement or article, or a TV or radio ad. Since information can be published in seconds, you can ensure it’s always current and up to date.
Feedback with social media is immediate, whereas traditional media often needs to be monitored and evaluated over a long period of time. With social media, businesses can experiment and test marketing messages and approaches, gauge user feedback and tweak the messages accordingly.
There are an ever-growing number of easy-to-use social media measurement tools, many of which are free and provide fascinating and valuable insights for businesses.
Although many businesses are getting on board with social media, others are still wary of it and reluctant to make a break away from traditional media. However, with its low cost, immediacy and interactivity, can your company really afford to ignore social media?
If you’re intimidated by the world of social media, you can dip your toe in slowly. Get online, listen, get a feel for the different platforms, and start experimenting with content and interaction. You’ll soon see how much more social media can offer than traditional media.
Christian Arno is the founder of professional translation services provider Lingo24, experts in the foreign language internet. Launched in 2001, Lingo24 now has over 150 employees spanning three continents and clients in over sixty countries. In the past twelve months, they have translated over forty million words for businesses in every industry sector, including the likes of MTV and World Bank. Follow Lingo24 on Twitter: @Lingo24.
Image source: William Hook