For anyone who follows social media in the least bit, the discussion as to whether or not this form of communication is a fad or not seems to pop up more and more as of late.
You ask one 'expert' in the field and they will tell you that social media is essentially a fad; something will eventually go the way of New Coke and Beanie Babies. You ask another 'expert' and they will inform you that social media is here to stay for the foreseeable future, a tool that can only enhance a company's profile.
Having followed social media now for several years, I would have to say that I side with the latter thought, that being that SM is here to stay for some time to come. I say that mostly because I see no signs that tell me otherwise.
You will also find me saying that if you're a small business or you plan on starting a small business and you are not actively using social media to promote your products and services, you are missing the boat.
For those small businesses not exploring the possibilities with social media, they stand the risk of falling behind their competitors and missing out on added revenue for starters.
Do You Think Social Media is a Fad?
When social media first caught our attention, many of us probably looked at it as a fad that would eventually wear out its welcome. For those who predicted such a result, they've been wrong to date.
With some 750 million users on Facebook, along with the reported 200 to 300 million (depends on who you believe) using Twitter, it is obvious that many individuals look at and use these two and other sites as more than just a fad.
Many consumers and fellow business heads have turned to social networking sites for not only entertainment and news, but to shop for products, including items like phone systems and much more. As a small business owner, you are missing the boat by not engaging with consumers and those fellow business owners who are potential customers, i.e. more return on investment (ROI).
Connecting the Dots of Social Media and CRM
If you're familiar or not familiar with the term social CRM, it is the interaction of social media and customer relationship management. What does social CRM offer the small business owner? Among the options are:
- Building both trust and brand loyalty with consumers;
- Obtaining customer data and maintaining it in an orderly process;
- Providing valuable information for your customer base;
- Savings costs on expensive advertising initiatives;
- Interacting with customers today and not tomorrow, providing quick online responses to both questions and issues.
Additionally, having a sound and effective social media presence for your small business gives you the opportunity to reach out to potential customers who are online looking for goods and services.
In order to successfully go about this, your small business needs to utilize the online medium for:
- Blogging on company products and services;
- Retweeting and sharing important details that will assist both current and potential customers;
- Use polls and surveys to determine what customers most need and how you can assist them.
The bottom line is social media is not leaving us anytime soon.
If your small business has been gun-shy about getting on the social media boat, you better give it a second thought before you are permanently stuck in port.
Photo credit: sonicseo.com