1) A great idea to introduce a company to social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube?
It is hard to imagine a business surviving without some social media presence. Introducing a business to social media is important for several reasons. The first and most obvious is that social media is a marketing tool, and a flexible one. Various forms of social media, or social media platforms, allow the company to deliver a cohesive, consistent message using multimedia. For example, Pinterest and Instagram rely primarily on visuals like video and photos. Companies can use Pinterest and Instagram to promote their products visually on these platforms. The company can use visual platforms to ensure their imagery and logos are consistent with their brand image and identity. Twitter and Facebook use visual and video data, too, but also offer opportunities for verbal discourse. Companies can use these sites to reach new customers, and encourage feedback.
Another important reason to introduce a company to social media is that social media transforms the marketing strategy. What used to be a one-directional marketing message is not multi-directional. The company no longer communicates one way with the customer. With social media, the customer also communicates with the company, and with other customers. Companies need multi-directional communication to guide their product development, customer service strategies, branding, and even organizational culture and company policies.
Companies also need social media to have greater control over their reputation. Without being introduced to social media, customers might start leaving bad reviews of products and services. The company needs to maintain a strong social media presence to rapidly respond to customer complaints and resolve them in an appropriate fashion. In other words, social media enables a strong media relations and public relations strategy.
2) Why it’s not a great idea…
Introducing businesses to social media could have some significant drawbacks. One way social media could be detrimental to a business is if the company has not yet developed a social media strategy. Lack of planning with social media can lead to problems. For example, if social media is used prematurely, the company risks inconsistency in their marketing messages. The company might also not anticipate the ways customers use social media. When customers communicate with companies using social media and the company is not ready to respond or responds inappropriately, the brand suffers. Social media requires constant and active management by social media specialists.
Companies that do not understand social media need to formulate a communications strategy. As Harrison (2012) also points out, some companies fail to realize the potential of social media and fail to keep their messages short while understanding contextual variables. Furthermore, companies that are introduced to social media need to choose the right platforms and stick to them. Rather than attempting to use all the social media platforms, a company should start with a few that align best with marketing goals. For example, a B2B company might do better using Google than Instagram (Harrison, 2012). A business should also only use social media when it is ready to invest. Social media management seems simple, but in fact, it requires a full-time commitment. Especially when a company is being introduced to social media, the marketing team needs to ensure that Tweets are updated, the blog is also updated, and that Facebook pages are being monitored. Customers who are ignored or who see a blog that has not been updated for years are likely to lose interest in the product, and the brands reputation will subsequently suffer.
Coleman, B. (2014). An Introduction to Social Media Marketing: A Guide for Small Businesses. Retrieved online: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/introduction-social-media-marketing-guide-small-businesses
Harrison, M. (2012). The right way to introduce your business using social media. Allee. Retrieved online: https://alleecreative.com/blog/2012/10/28/the-right-way-to-introduce-your-business-using-social-media/
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