Social media has become a daily part of life for many people. From checking updates on Facebook, to making new business connections on LinkedIn, to re-tweeting a link to a news article, many of us, our family members, our employees and our customers spend time each day interacting via social media. Some businesses have embraced social media and the strong marketing capabilities that it can provide, many business owners have half-heartedly setup a Facebook page with little to no thought process behind what to do with it, while others maintain that it is a medium with no value and a lot of risk.
Social Media Defined
An array of social media channels exist today, and new ones come and go almost daily. In a broad sense, social media is a collection of online communications channels dedicated to user-based input, interaction and content sharing. While an untold number of social media sites exist, they can be broken down to a few main types of services:
- A web service that allows the subscriber to broadcast short messages to other subscribers of the service. Twitter is one of the main venues, but other forums such as Vine (a video clip microblogging service) exist.
- Social networking. The use of dedicated websites and applications to interact with other users or to find people with interests similar to one’s own. Facebook and LinkedIn are two of the most popular social networking sites.
- Social curation. The collaborative sharing of Web content organized around one or more particular themes or topics. Reddit and Pinterest are examples of this.
- A server program that allows users to collaborate in forming the content of a Web site.
A business that has fully embraced social media as a marketing tool more likely than not takes advantage of a few of the above channels for interacting with their customer base. However, understanding the capabilities and limitations of each is key to developing an effective social media marketing approach.
Benefits of Social Media
From a marketing perspective, there are a number of key advantages to using social media:
- Clearly defining your business so you can communicate directly to potential customers what it is your business does. Social media is a great venue to reinforce the message of what it is you do and what sets you apart from your competition.
- Sharing your expertise and positioning yourself and your business as leaders in your industry on a consistent and regular basis. The better the content you create, the more likely customers will continue to look to you for advice in your field.
- Building relationships with customers, prospective customers, and referral sources quickly.
- Small to mid-size businesses can affordably build broad awareness by creating and maintaining a strong social media presence. Social media advertising is less about the size of your budget, and more about delivering consistent and timely content and updates.
- Networking with others in your field and staying on top of new trends, hot topics, and interesting ways to expand your business.
Look forward to our next article which will discuss some of the key considerations to setting a social media policy for your business to avoid the potential pitfalls that can occur.
About Alegria & Company, P.S.
We want to be your partner in success. Helping you with your financial needs is the perfect opportunity to do so. Our team of four partners and twenty-five professional staff located in two offices in Yakima and Prosser are well placed to serve clients from Yakima through the Lower Valley, the Columbia Basin and throughout the Pacific Northwest.