Social Media: The Key to a Successful Business

Businesses that utilize social media save colossal amounts of time and energy

By: Oxana Tsirelman, Staff Writer

Image Courtesy of: business2community.com

Social media is one of the major avenues on which businesses rely to understand their consumer better and market themselves more effectively. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are key in decision and/or policy making because customers us them to communicate online, enabling companies to easily observe consumer trends. Riley Gibson, co-founder of Napkin Laps asserts that, “It’s scary, uncharted territory for many, but it’s much more efficient to tap social media than to agonize over expensive surveys and focus groups.”

Not surprisingly, since Facebook, Google, and Twitter emerged, more people have been engaging in conversation over the Net since these platforms significantly reduce the barriers to creating content online. Savvy businesses can greatly benefit from this trend; social media platforms function as an online repository of consumer information, allowing businesses to refrain from throwing money into too many data collection avenues.

The sky rocketing popularity of these social media platforms has pushed businesses to “stake their claim” on these networks and use them to their own full advantage. However, even so, though almost 79 percent of corporations have a profile on a social network,
merely having a Facebook Fan page, Twitter handle or a LinkedIn group doesn’t suffice anymore.

To lead a business into a “social business model” in the 21st century not only requires an unwavering commitment to a social media mindset, but also a new way of thinking. All these factors substantially impact marketing decisions, interaction and conversation. [pullquote]When you’ve got 300 million people on Facebook, that’s a huge business watering hole. The profile is like an index to your company.[/pullquote]

Lon Safko, social media expert and co-author of The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success cites that, “When you’ve got 300 million people on Facebook, that’s a huge business watering hole. The profile is like an index to your company.”

Although Facebook is the most popular social media network, there are countless other online avenues available for companies to branch into that feature the all important profile. A perfect example is LinkedIn, as it is home to 55 million people who are currently looking for jobs, employees or fundamental business and networking opportunities. Further, MySpace lets users personalize their profile by “tinkering” with music, themes and HTML code.

JJ McCorvey affirms that, “It wasn’t until 1997 that the Internet reached 50 million users in the United States. Facebook gained over 100 million users in the U.S. from January 2009 to January 2010, marking a 145 percent growth rate within one year, according to research by digital marketing agency iStrategy Labs. If you’re a business owner that hasn’t embraced social media networking as a major component of your success strategy, it’s due time to hop onboard.”

However, what you also have to consider as a corporation is how exactly you are going to use your social media platform. As Safko suggests, “Take some time and really analyze what your existing social media strategy is…figure out which tools are best for your demographic.”

If you don’t have a fully thought out strategy for how you’re going to use your social network, you may end up doing nothing more than wasting a colossal amount of time.

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