Social media for business is the single most cost effective distribution channel any business has at its disposal. This Content-generating resource lends itself to business building but not all decision makers are cognizant of the opportunities.
Jason Smit, Director – Microsoft Technologies, at Ukuvuma Solutions tells Appsafrica.com many managers and business owners tend to view social media, inclusive of social networks, as a popular but generic way for people to keep in touch. “They cling to the past and the incorrect notion that sites like Facebook is all about loading and downloading arbitrary information between people, material that has little or nothing to do with real business,” says Smit.
However, these ‘traditionalists’ often overlook an unequivocal truth about business that continues to stand the test of time: people are far more likely to do business with people and companies they know and trust or with companies referred to them by people they know and trust.
As Smit explains, it is interesting to consider how experts define Social Media, which is the global digital interaction of various individuals in the creation and exchanging of user-generated content using a multitude of virtual communities and networks.
Using this as a base, the reality of operating in the modern market is that individuals are essentially custodians of their own brand – and more so if there is a business in place. The online world, if strategically used, can be a cost-effective and massive audience through which brands can be built, strengthened and extended.
“By building your brand online, getting people to like you on Facebook, following you on Twitter or joining your circles on LinkedIn, the world wide audience becomes familiar with your brand, your company and your products or services. Whenever people like or share your posts, they are in essence endorsing or promoting you to their friends and followers,” he continues.
A unique process
However, while the online environment is immediate and quick, the process of establishing a brand is not. Like any marketing initiative it takes time be effective and to provide a return on investment. At the same time, Smit is adamant that the digital terrain, and Social Media in particular, can be hugely beneficial as the primary area of focus for a marketing campaign.
“The difference with digital or online marketing is that you can see what is happening in real time and accurately measure the results. Should something interesting happen, you can instantly capitalize on this,” he explains.
“You don’t have to wait for some publication or printed media to be designed, printed and distributed. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe there is a place for printed media in any marketing campaign. However, for a small business with a limited budget and even less time, Social Media is the answer.”
Why is it the answer? Smit and his fellow colleagues at Ukuvuma Solutions have identified several immediate benefits to business. These are:
- Brand building – instant, effective
- Creates awareness of product/ service
- Driving traffic to website
- Accurate measurable results
- Flexibility to promote business
- Create a following
- Encourages discussion/ feedback and promotion
As Smit contests, with social media and social media marketing the sky is no longer the limit.