In its brief history, Social Media, as called New Media, has traditionally been viewed as a place to meet new friends, reconnect with old friends and interact in an online social environment. In short, social networks were “a cool place to hang out” but held little applicability beyond that. There has been no shortage of funding in Silicon Valley for firms launching new media platforms. With the emergence of sites like MySpace, Face book and Twitter, there is no question that there is value in the vast amounts of information on people that these platforms have been able to collect; however, there has been no clear monetization strategy beyond bringing in advertising revenue. Arguments have been raised as to the true value of these firms; some would state that their valuations are inflated and artificial, while other claims that the value of their databases alone is enough to justify multi-billion dollar price tags.
The New Value of Social Media and the Social Media Firm
More recently social media has spawned a new value proposition, which is the business applicability of the vast user-bases these social networks have created. Regardless of which side of the valuation fence you sit on, it can be said that social media holds vast utility for businesses looking for a new way to reach out to customers and engage in two-way communications. This has never been done before from a traditional marketing, advertising or public relations perspective, and has given rise to a new business model: The Social Media Firm. This brings forth the argument of whether or not The Social Media Firm is a good investment. Is The Social Media Firm a fad that will die out in the coming years, or is this a long-term, sustainable industry that will one-day drive obsolescence to the traditional methods of advertising, public relations and marketing?
Given the state of the current economy, Venture Capital and angel funding sources have been keeping their portfolio dollars close to their chest, reserving investment only to businesses with a decent operating history, solid revenue streams and unlimited growth potential. Does the Social Media Firm fall into this category? My answer is yes. The bottom line is: social media is not going anywhere. Social media has become a staple of the lives of younger generations, and the fastest growing adopters of new media are people over the age of 30. Since the recognition of the business potential that social networks holds, large Fortune 500 firms are devoting a good portion of their marketing budgets to social networks and new media campaigns. For instance, Pepsi has devoted $20 Million of their marketing budget for a social media program called Pepsi refresh, and many large firms are beginning to follow suit. Needless to say, the earning potential for The New Media Firm is substantial.
Is it sustainable? As mentioned earlier, new media is not going anywhere. For the most part it has become a standard part of the Internet experience similar to email. The sites that are considered the gorillas in social media may churn; however, there will always be something new to which these Internet-based communities will migrate. For example, the social media migration to-date has gone from MySpace to Face book to Twitter, and the next major shift and/or addition to this massive online social sphere is likely just around the corner. The long-term sustainability of The Social Media Firm is largely dependent upon these companies’ ability to identify and pre-empt the next big shift, and to develop effective methods of leveraging both the old and new platforms for the sake of driving revenue, profitability, sales volume and identity to their clients.
Are you a small business owner looking for ways to grow your business? Are you looking to attract more leads to your business, or have heard about Social Media Marketing, and now want to try it?
As a small business owner you face many challenges – limited capital, minimal support staff and having too much to do in what seems like very little time. So, how do you grow your small business without heavy investment in marketing and advertising? Answer – through the use of technology. Web 2.0 provides you with various tools and techniques that help you to generate leads and increase the exposure of your home-based business. Social media is one such tool. Here’s all you need to know as a small business owner to begin increasing revenues using social media.
What is Social Media? Social Media is a category of online media where people are talking, participating, sharing, networking, and bookmarking online. Examples include Face book, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google Plus, and MySpace.
What is Social Media Marketing? Social media marketing is using the above mentioned platforms to reach a new audience of consumers and create product brand awareness. By spreading word of a product from user to user, Social Media Marketing strives to gain greater legitimacy for a message because it is shared between trusted “friends.”
Which Social Media Channels are most popular? Studies show that Face book & Twitter are most popular social media channels followed closely by YouTube and LinkedIn, Google Plus. Why should Social Media Marketing Interest me? If you think this kind of Marketing is not for you, think again. These platforms offer a large bundle of benefits to small business owners. Here are some reasons why you should consider using Social Media for your business.
Exposure: As a small business owner you rely largely on network marketing to channel leads to your business – which, in turn relies on your interaction with people. This is the core notion of what Social Media is! But Social Media offers virtually unlimited opportunities to interact with people – millions of them! With this interesting form of marketing, your business is no longer limited to local leads; you will find leads coming in from a diversified geographic market!
Zero-cost: While other marketing media would be expensive, this type of marketing is relatively free, or requires negligible monetary investment. It’s a great low-cost way to get your message across.
Improved web presence: Being on popular social media platforms strengthens your web presence. The more people talk about you on Face book or Twitter, the greater are the chances of your business being found on relevant web searches such as Google, Yahoo!, or Bing.
Direct contact with prospects: These platforms put you in touch with your customers directly. You can have one-on-one contact with them, know what they really want.
If you are planning to launch a start- up business or have recently started one, you probably have encountered a wealth of information on using social media to promote a business. Though there are millions of social media users across the world, around 900 million of them, it is easy to get carried away by the numbers. Finding the right social sites to promote your business to maximise its potential is essential for business success, and this is where you should concentrate your efforts.
What Social Media Engagement Achieves For Business
Social media in essence is about engagement through sharing, which for business means targeting your product range, your articles, or your services at engaging a potential customer or client base. Collectively, products, services and articles are known as content, and it is through offering quality content that success through your channels can be achieved. Social media has around 900 million users globally, and covers every topic range you can think of. As well as engaging a potential customer and client base or readership, social media is also relevant to search engine optimization. Social media is a unique format as it helps you promote your content directly to your audience, and in turn it generates traffic via people sharing your content with others, and through SEO. Perhaps more importantly than this, however, social media with its online reviews helps a business build trust, and nearly every brand you can think of uses social media for this reason. Consider this: you come across two companies offering the same services; one has 250 Face book likes, the other 43 – which one would you opt for? So regardless of whether you’re an online retailer, an affiliate marketer, offer a service such as tuition, or run a news site, social media can help you build your business online. Google estimates that by 2015, UK consumers will have purchased £40bn of products and services online.
Popular Social Media Sites and Their Uses
Getting to get grips with the nuances of social media’s role in promoting your business can cause more than its fair share of headaches. Here is a list of the most popular social media sites and their uses:
Face book is predominately for sharing. This can be products, articles, or services. In a nutshell, it’s for sharing your content with as many people as possible.
Twitter is about sharing news on any subject. Don’t let the word news make you feel it does not apply for products. New product launches, new stock ready to be sold – Twitter is good for all of this.
Google+ is in part a combination of the two and has become important for search engine optimization if nothing else.
Blogging is a great way to impart news and expertise to your readership, customer and client base, or followers. It offers a goodway to attract visitors on your site via search engines.
YouTube is about showcasing videos to a wide audience. It is being utilised by businesses all the time to sell products and services. As YouTube is owned by Google, videos tend to feature prominently on search engine results. You can also utilise the YouTube ads to make a secondary income stream.
Pinterest and other bookmarking sites are very good at showcasing visual products. If your business is selling something online, albeit a product or service, ensure you are posting on Pinterest and as many bookmarking sites you can find.