Social media important for professional branding
Let’s get real. It’s the 21st century, and if you’re not using some type of social media, you are living under a rock. A huge, dense blindfolding rock. Even if you have been living under said rock, the words "Facebook" or "Twitter" had to have gotten thrown around in conversation at least once within the past five years. Social networks are used to connect people all around the world. They can be used for fun, but they can also be used for professional purposes. And who ever said you can’t mix business with pleasure?
As trivial as it may seem, social media is actually quite important to the professional world. It has given businesses a fresh start. It has expanded the world of both small and large businesses and given them greater opportunities. Ever since the universe of merchandising shifted toward the Internet and mobile devices, marketing now revolves around the two. It has become so convenient to browse online at your favorite stores and “window shop” at related brands by simply opening a new tab. This luxury has gone greatly under appreciated. Keeping this in mind, however, some companies are still hesitant to join the modern age of networking, even when a huge percentage of their opponents use it to their advantage. If a product or service is going to be talked about, the company might as well control what is being talked about, right? With all of the constant updates on smartphones and new forms of social media arising, these apps and sites should become the driving force for businesses to share their messages. Their content can be shared easier and faster to a much broader spectrum of people. All of the mediums used by competitive businesses are public for anyone and everyone to see on the World Wide Web. So, although there will be an inevitable rise in competition, other companies will know what they are up against. Social media is a business necessity to stay ahead of the game.
Recently, it was discovered that there are more Facebook users than people in the largest country in the world. How insane is this? Facebook is like its own city with its own inhabitants, ranging from old (like your creepy uncle) to young (like your creepy little cousin). There is a market for everyone. If you haven’t noticed, Facebook is extremely intelligent. It takes your recent Google searches on your favorite people and items and recommends new products, or certain pages that are similar to those searches for you to view and “like.” Facebook is an easy way to learn about a business’ audience and target them. It can broaden the spectrum of people interested in it just by having a good pitch, for even the most mediocre of brands. We all know there is Facebook “stalking” for friends, family and strangers, but there is also Facebook “stalking” for businesses. People tend to make their first impressions of people based on their online profiles, so it only makes sense that a business' online presence would do the same. By consistently updating their profile with engaging content, sales could potentially go through the roof. It allows for minimal employee involvement, fewer expenses and time better spent on other work. The more people that like the page, the more notoriety the business will get.
Twitter is becoming more influential as time passes. There are currently over 974 million Twitter accounts, and this number is only rising. Twitter has more immediately positive aspects than Facebook. While Facebook is great for marketing, Twitter is great for instant feedback. When people are dissatisfied with a company or product, they can tweet at them, or a related branch of the company, with their complaints. It allows for unknown customer perspectives, whether criticism or suggestion. A negative can be turned into a positive relatively quickly. A small Twitter conversation can create meaningful relationships with customers, especially when an angry consumer is assuaged with reimbursements or free products. Social networking is a smart move for start-up businesses and entrepreneurs if they want to get their name out there, launch new products, drive online sales, etc.
We have come a long way from mail catalogs and incessant telemarketers. However, it must be kept in mind that social media is just an ingredient to the entrée that is business. Because past platforms thought to be full of promise, like MySpace, failed to deliver, it would be unwise to rely solely on any online market.
Epatia Lilikas is a sophomore in the School of Arts and Sciences majoring in English and economics. Her column “Digital Canvas,” runs on alternate Fridays.