Social media has revolutionized the way of life for the modern person. The way we interact with people has drastically changed. It used to be that if you wanted to talk to some one anywhere in the world, you would have to either call or send a letter, or even an email. Now it is as easy as going to your Facebook page and writing on your friend’s wall. These sites allow you to see what your friends are doing, to “like” your favorite businesses, and connect with people who have the same interests as you. Although these advancements may be limiting face-to-face communication and personal, physical interaction, they have opened a doorway for business to thrive and grow in ways it never could before.
Did you know that every time you “like” a product or company on Facebook, you start to get customized ads in your news feed and on the sidebars? All of your interests, hobbies, favorite pastimes, even your religious preferences determine what ads you see. Businesses are able to focus their attention on their target market and reach the people who have a higher chance of patronizing their business. Moreover, when you “like” something, your friends see it, and it begins to create a network of potential customers. The advertising can avoid people who have no interest in the product. Marketing has never been more effective.
Before websites like My Space and Facebook, many companies seemed to be unreachable, soulless, faceless entities whose only purpose was to sell, sell, sell—as if they didn’t really care about the customer, only the bottom line. Now, customers are the bottom line. If someone feels that they had poor customer service, bought a faulty product, or just had a bad experience at the brick-and-mortar store, it is very likely they will be talking about it to the social media world. Once this happens, the business has a negative PR situation. Most companies will take great care to avoid these problems, which in turn empowers the customer.
In spite of possible negative consequences with the use of Facebook in business, there are even more benefits. A business can connect with its customers in a more direct line that makes them feel as if they are talking with a friend. If you make your company something they can relate to, you will win their loyalty and that of their friends, too. If they are well taken care of, they will let everybody know about it.
One of the greatest things about using Facebook in business is that any company of any size can become competitive. Small business might have a disadvantage compared to a global company, but it can still have the same amount of reach. Social media success is usually based on creative ideas that attract attention. This leaves a lot of responsibility on the small business, but the reward could be huge.
Whether you are a tiny cog in the massive corporate machine, or a simple entrepreneur, establishing a social media presence will have a huge effect on your business. Whether it’s good or bad is up to you.
About the Author: Lindsey Patterson is a freelance writer who specializes in the latest social trends, specifically social media, in business. She is currently acting as a social media consultant for Vivint. You can follow them on Twitter here.