The following is a guest post by Zach Buckley. His bio is at the end of the article.
Remember when the next big thing was going to be the Internet? A few smart companies hopped on that bandwagon early and made a major profit, and then eventually the companies who didn’t have an Internet presence began to die off. That’s pretty much what’s happening now with social media.
There is tremendous opportunity with social media, particularly for entrepreneurs, but there is also a real possibility that businesses that fail to get on the social media train will be left behind at the station.
If there’s any question as to how important social media is to business, you need look no further than Social Madness, a contest presented by Capitol One Spark Business. This is a “March Madness” style tournament that pits companies (1,200 of them, so far) against each other to prove their social media prowess. The prize is a $10,000 donation to charity for the three winning companies and an increased understanding of social media for every participant.
Marketing uses for social media
The first thing that business people think of when they think of social media is marketing. A publicity campaign has the potential to go viral and get millions of views if it is popular on social media. The idea is that if someone shares a video ad on Facebook, all of their friends become potential viewers who might like the ad and share it with all of their friends and so on.
When you send that goofy video of the dog jumping rope to all your friends on social media, you are becoming part of the machine. All this means that marketers no longer have to spend thousands or even millions of dollars to blast ads to the farthest reaches of the world; they need only to create the kind of quality ad content that people will want to share.
This lends itself to a whole other brand of marketing called SEO or Search Engine Optimization. You’ve probably heard that SEO is a key tool for web marketing, but it turns out that it is even more important for social media.
The items at the top of search lists are the ones that get shared, and the best way to get to the top of the list is to meet the criteria for Google, from having the right domain names to having the right keywords and links. The domain name is especially huge, earning “bonus points” for search engine ranking.
Other business uses for social media
Social media is also providing other valuable opportunities for entrepreneurs.
When it comes to market research, all a business owner has to do is see what’s buzzing on Twitter (according to searchenginewatch.com, there are more than 200 million registered Twitter users) to know what consumers are interested in on a given day (or in a given nanosecond).
Social media can also tip a business off to what their competitors are doing more effectively than any corporate spy could. Social media can also allow a company to stay in communication with its customers more effectively, both to receive feedback and to keep customers informed about new products, services and offers.
Social media is a huge part of the business world now, and any entrepreneur would do well to take full advantage of it. Whether it’s used for marketing, research, or staying in touch with customers, proper use of social media can make a good business better, but failing to keep up a good social media presence could be a company’s downfall.
Zach Buckley is a freelance writer who is interested in social media, domain names, and helping businesses succeeding online. He lives in theMidwest and enjoys music, literature and good food.