In the early days of advertising, print media reigned supreme. Newspapers and magazines weren’t simply the best way to connect with large numbers of customers — they were often the only way.
Then came radio and television — platforms that allowed you to reach an even larger audience, usually in a matter of seconds.
Though as terrific as these delivery systems were, they were still one-directional. Advertisers and businesses could connect with consumers, but end users had no way of communicating back.
At least until the rise of social media.
With the advent of Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, it suddenly became possible to have a true dialogue between producers and consumers. If you managed to target the right types of influencers, the conversation could become viral as newsfeed mentions and “social likes” garnered tens of millions of views in a matter of hours.
This alone makes social media an invaluable resource for any business. Yet the benefits don't stop there. If you currently sell products and services, below are just a few of the primary advantages having a social media presence offers:
- Immediacy and Impulsiveness
In today's hyper-connected world, users are always logged into their favorite platforms. Fading are the days of having to remember proprietary usernames and passwords. With one click, customers can instantly sign into any website or checkout cart.
This is ideal for impulse purchases.
- Real-Time Analytics
With print media, radio and television, you were always committed to one message at a time. Therefore, it might take days to ever receive any meaningful feedback about what works and what doesn’t.
However, with social media, you can send countless messages and receive instantaneous feedback. Equally important, you can segment and A/B test to quickly isolate the highest converting campaigns.
- Cost Per User
Traditional advertising is expensive, with most rates rising in proportion to the number of subscribers reached. By contrast, social media is essentially free, with the largest investment being time. It's possible to reach 100 million users without spending a dime.
- 100 Percent Automation
Most content management systems (e.g. WordPress, Drupal and Joomla) have social media syncing that allows you to automatically tweet or like new posts once they go live on your site. In essence, you can put your entire social media campaign on autopilot without having to actively manage each individual platform.
Should Your Business Invest in a Social Media Presence?
Social media success isn't automatic. Because platforms like Facebook and Google Plus are so popular, they attract a lot of competition. In fact, more than 93 percent of marketers use social media to drive traffic to their businesses. It takes a lot of work to have your message stand out — especially given the short attention spans that Web surfers and mobile users have.
However, not having a social media presence arguably requires more work:
- Connecting with existing users is difficult.
- Attracting new ones is next to impossible.
If you’re still on the fence, start small. Open a Facebook account and link it to your company’s website; as you begin attracting more traffic and converting more visitors, you can scale up accordingly.