As we have been observing trends for a while, technology has an uncanny habit of creating new paradigms that potentially change the rules with which we engage with the world order. Social media is one such trend that has emerged as a powerful way of communication and engagement. The widespread reach and effective penetration of social media in peoples’ lives has given it utopian credentials, which is why it is influencing the way businesses are being carried out now.
Due to the increasing popularity of various social networks, consumers are no longer passive, and they are connecting and consuming information like never before. Buoyed by the smartphone revolution and improved internet penetration, social media engagement has become instant as well as highly conversational in nature. In light of this, businesses are adapting their strategies in this new landscape in innovative ways. This new approach on the part of marketers is helping them reap huge benefits.
One business domain that has been disrupted most by the onslaught of social media is e-commerce. In fact, it is thriving on social media. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube have created a fertile ground where e-commerce businesses are leveraging various brand promotional tactics. Today, better software development experts are being hired for the deployment of e-commerce websites to seamlessly integrate prominent social media platforms.
The fact that social media has become a great tool for advertising has allowed businesses to reach diverse audiences, grow brand awareness, and acquire new customers. This increased understanding has also profoundly changed professional decision making. As a result, organizations are more efficient, timely,and supportive in terms of how they interact with customers.
According to a recent study on social media’s impact on business that was carried out by higher echelons in the hierarchy of various organizational structures, it was found that:
- The way organizations are using social media internally and externally is changing drastically
- Connecting and collaborating are the key drivers
- Mobile has become a key networking access point
- Information obtained from online networks is highly trustworthy
- LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are the most professional networks today
- Professionals are engaging in multiple social networks for business purposes
How is social media changing business dynamics?
1. Highly Targeted Advertising
The ever-increasing use of social media in everyday life has shaped personal online interactions. As against traditional approach, consumers today have different expectations from businesses as to how they should be treated. This development, in turn, has created an opportunity for businesses also to specifically target consumers. This is by far the most influential aspect. Never before was it possible for brands to develop marketing and advertising materials, and put them across different customers as per their need as it is now. Today, newer forms of metrics, measurement tools, and management platforms are making it easier for marketers to analyze data and monitor the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns. These strategies have been more difficult to employ with traditional advertising means.
2. Customers Wield Most Power
It is not surprising to know that social media has changed the balance of power towards customers since the latter can access a vast amount of information. The evolution of this new age engagement has given voice to the voiceless, and consumers are coming out openly with their story. For an instance, when a customer had a bad experience with a particular brand in the past, they could hardly give their feedback and were therefore rendered confined to their core group of friends and family. Today, however, the angry customers can leverage the outreach of social media to effectively voice their opinions, and hence influence the decisions of millions of other potential customers.
3. Rise Of Social Influencers
The increasing significance of social media has brought another entity in the equation – social influencers. They are now being touted by businesses as highly relevant since they can influence people’s opinions in a big way. This is because influencers have a large fan following that value their opinions and views. This authority and credibility in their audience base have also made them powerful brand advocates. This is exactly the reason why many brands are leveraging the rise of social influencers to their advantage. Many brands are investing their time and money on influencers as they believe that the latter can pull things off in their favor. Furthermore, marketers believe that influencers are those who can make consumers have a physical reaction – someone who can change their minds, with a call to action.
4. Perceived Impacts Of Content Dissemination
Content has always been considered as a king of the web, while the rise of social media has given a special place to the content marketing. The dissemination of content has spurred considerably because social media is allowing businesses to post and share directly with consumers. Brands are creating content and engaging with their audiences with relevant and informative posts. This interesting and entertaining way of interaction helps them build brand awareness and provides quantifiable and controllable environment for their business to grow organically. The interesting aspects of content creation include images and pictures, memes, video, infographics, lists, links, and much more.
5. Real-Time Customer Service
Since social media has become a vital tool for marketing and advertising, businesses are also exploring the opportunity to offer a responsive customer service in order to have a competitive edge. With the help of different social media profiles, businesses can now offer real-time and round-the-clock service. As a matter of fact, customer service expectations are rising year after year because of the availability of easy two-way communication due to social media. Attending to customers’ feedback and replying to them on social media can go a long way in establishing credibility among them. For example, if a company doesn’t find its customers talking about its brand name online, it can dispense great customer service to remain relevant in the industry.
Social media has definitely changed the business landscape in a profound way. In order to stay ahead in the race, businesses are closely monitoring the past and future trends of social media, and tweaking their strategies to make them more effective. It is difficult to predict the future of social media, but it has certainly brought together what is most valuable for businesses – consumers!