The Evolution of Social Media: Are You Up For It?
Walking down a main street or taking the metro – everywhere you look, you see people using smartphones. The majority of them are so absorbed in social media communities that they forget about in-person interactions.
Social Media has been continuously growing at an increasingly high speed over the years. Accordingly, a number of businesses have taken advantage of the evolution, through marketing activities and interaction with users on Social Media.
Social Media is said to be a critical marketing tool by several marketing entities. It can be seen as the perfect opportunity for businesses to firstly, socialize with their potential or current customers – and secondly, use this “new” form of media as an instrument to communicate an intended message. This way of business-to-consumer interaction can lead to a strong and long lasting relationship, but only if the right activities are well played out.
The potential of being successful as a business on Social Media is growing. Some of the newest trends on Social Media in 2016 are quite interesting and are worth checking out.
First, the new feature announced by Pinterest involves a visual search. This means that users can now click on items within an image to search for that particular item. For instance, searching for a coffee machine within an image of a coffee shop can be done with only one click.
Another example of an emerging trend is a live social broadcast by Facebook. People want to see what is happening and when it happens, which can create trust towards businesses.
To Participate or to Not Participate?
In order to fulfill customer expectations, businesses need to stay social. Businesses need to decide whether or not to be on Social Media, as well as choose the appropriate media to use, if any. The decision should be based on overlapping probabilities such as activity, responsiveness, and time given to foster the engagement.
Businesses should not risk sending the wrong message by failing to respond to requests, complaints, or ignore dialogue in general. Generally it is worse to be on Social Media and poorly perform, rather than not participate at all. It is critical that businesses know how much effort they are able to put towards social media before getting started.
Another factor influencing the decision of whether to participate or not participate, is the kind of industry within which the company operates. The question is therefore whether it is even appropriate to be active on Social Media. The nature of the business should determine participation because in some cases the industry is disconnected from interactions with consumers.
To summarize the decision framework, two questions must be taken into consideration:
- Does the company have the resources to support the decision to participate in Social Media.
- Does the nature of the business encourage the company to participate in Social Media-related activities.
If companies decide to participate in Social Media, the dedication has to be complete. Thus, consumers must be treated as humans, equal to the company. Otherwise, much time, energy, and money could be spent on Social Media while returning limited value.
Written by Kristofer Pall Lentz