Successful businesses know that in order to be prosperous you need to build relationships with your customers, employees, suppliers and partners. Traditionally, establishing those relationships has been costly. In an age where some organizations are spending in excess of $1 billion on advertising, social media provides businesses of all sizes the opportunity to reach consumers for relatively little money.
Just how many can be reached through social media? In 2013 Twitter averaged 232 millon visitors per month. Facebook, a whooping 1.15 billion active users a month, all of who average more than eight hours a month using the site. YouTube sees 1 billion users each month who spend an average of an hour watching user contributed videos. With numbers like this, there is very little reason for businesses to be sitting on the side lines.
For many of us, there are no boundaries to where we can sell our products. Downloadable products and advanced shipping logistical systems allow us to easily distribute our goods around the globe. The bigger challenge has always been how to reach potential customers both domestically and abroad. Social media presents business owners with an opportunity to reach millions for so little investment. In the event you are thinking this sounds too good to be true, read about Cassey Ho, a woman who has used social media to attract over 900,000 YouTube subscribers to watch her fitness videos.
For those ready to jump into social media, you need to carefully plan your program. Social media gives you a platform to communicate with potential consumers so you want to make sure the message communicated and the tone in which it is communicated is determined well in advance. As noted by Mark Schaefer, author of The Tao of Twitter, “people are sick of being sold to, marketed to, and tricked into clicking on links to unwanted products. Your goal in the social media age is to focus on human interactions that lead to connections, connections lead to awareness, awareness leads to trust, and trust leads to business benefits”.