Clicking “share” on your smartphone of choice: that’s all it takes to be social in today’s media landscape. Although it’s easier to share experiences in today’s world of Facebook-connected digital cameras, innumerable social media platforms and seemingly omnipresent Wi-Fi, this doesn’t mean that the human need to be social is a novel concept.
Consider any historical time period, from ancient history to present day. From tribes to kingdoms to neighborhoods, one common factor exists: People need to share life experiences through a social outlet of one kind of another. The cool thing about today’s social world is that it not only meets the human desire to belong and to share, but it can also be a great solution to a variety of business issues and challenges – when it’s used correctly.
Use It or Lose It
Many companies today shy away from using social media because they anticipate that more could go wrong than right in their attempts. However, not using social media can lead to another set of problems entirely – which is certainly a shame, considering the power of social media to provide extraordinary solutions (rather than create new problems that require their own resolution).
As mentioned before, people need to have a social outlet. Even the most reticent among us desires to share his experiences with others, whether in the form of a blog, Facebook photos, YouTube videos or anything else. If your company or brand isn’t utilizing social media (or if it’s attempting to, but isn’t using the platforms properly), people will find other ways to be social about your brand.
Your customers will bring your brand into the social media landscape, even if you don’t. They might visit third-party review sites to complain, become attracted to a more engaging competitor or go straight to the competition when dissatisfied. Why not be one step ahead of them and already have your brand established socially? That way, you can facilitate an engaging conversation with your audience, provide the connection they desire and have the right conversations with them when problems do arise.
FB is Changing HR
Social media has flipped the world of recruiting and personnel management on its side. However, these changes work more ways than you might think, and they can actually be beneficial to both parties involved. First of all, recruiters can peruse job applicants’ social media to whatever extent they desire. (We’ve all heard a story about a less-than-business-savvy friend whose Facebook profile didn’t do him any favors in the job market.)
It works the other way, too – applicants can do a little more homework than past generations could when job-seeking. Not only can they research a company’s awards, statistics and publicity, but they can also get a feel for the company’s culture and brand voice through social media. Oftentimes, this is a great way for applicants to get a feel for how they’d fit into a company, without ever setting foot in an interview room – saving everyone time.
Crowdsourcing and Credibility
Crowdsourcing, the 21st-century version of outsourcing, allows public users to suggest or create solutions to a company’s problems. A direct problem-solving application of social, this new model means that companies never have to look very far to find enlightening, thorough answers to their questions. And with the plethora of blogs and forums populating the Internet, companies can easily reach out to seek outside opinions on issues impacting their clients and audiences.
Essentially, the value of social media is in its ability to foster two-way communication. It allows companies to ask questions on sites like Quora to gather feedback, while also enabling them to answer their audience’s questions. This can really benefit a company, while also fostering brand trust amongst its consumer base.
In fact, content marketing is a huge tool in solving credibility or authority issues businesses may have, both proactively and reactively. It allows a brand to gain a “face” that makes it more approachable to its customers. It also helps build brand loyalty; people are much more likely to consider a brand in their purchase process if they’re connected with the brand on social media. Finally, social media is key in any sales process. All it takes is one click for customers to go from a social media brand page to an e-commerce page.
Let’s face it: social media isn’t going anywhere. It’s a modern solution to an ancient human need to share, but it also offers great solutions for businesses. The kicker is that, as a business, you need to make the first move toward fostering that two-way conversation. From then on, there are endless possibilities for the value you and your customers can provide each other.