Lately there have been lot of online and offline discussions about how to effectively use social media for marketing one’s business. Though I don’t claim to be an expert in social media yet, I certainly spot some trends. I can see that there is a lot of convergence in the social media. Sites such as Twitter, facebook, Linkedin etc are compatible with each other e.g. blogs can be broadcast via facebook, twits can be broadcast via facebook, linkedin groups can connect with blogs etc. This convergence offers a lot of opportunities for businesses. Let us say, I have started a venture and need to reach out to my potential as well as existing customers. I can start with blogging on my company website. This will give me opportunity to interact with my customers. I can also use social networks, wikis, online videos, podcasting, widgets (Widgets are basically small applications that provide online functionality and content. They can be distributed through a potentially limitless number of websites) and micro blogging (e.g.twitter) to promote my business. Companies like Honda, Toyota, Google and HP are using social media very actively.
You may view some of the successful social media campaigns in detail at the following link
Companies increasingly find social media very attractive because of some very obvious reasons. Firstly Propagating through social media has a cascading effect. A company sponsoring its new product can reach out to thousands of potential customers within no time using social media wisely. Secondly, it is very cheap as the benefits outweigh costs which are almost negligible due to low cost of connectivity. Most importantly, as more and more people are connected on various networks, social media is where the target audience is.
There is a flipside though, to using social media. Today, the fortunes of movies in the USA are made or broken by twitter because the moment people go out of the movie theatre, they start twitting about how they found the movie. If the movie doesn’t live up to their expectations, that’s the end of their fortune. There have also been instances of frustrated customers venting their anger on the company blogs or on the social media.
Since the social media is becoming so powerful, Marketers are spending a lot of their time on how to get the best out of social media. Companies such as Thoughtbuzz have developed very interesting business model around social media. They track social media discussions about companies on the internet so that the companies know the perception the customers have about them and their products and strategise accordingly.
We will see how individuals can benefit from social media in my next blog.