Once upon a time, social media was the bane of every adult’s existence as teenagers the world over flocked to Myspace in 2004. Today, there are more social media platforms than you can shake a stick at. Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Facebook, and Pinterest are at the top of the social media food chain. And there are professional social media networking platforms as well. LinkedIn, for example, is the pinnacle of professional networking. So, it was no mistake that LinkedIn’s desktop redesign released this past January looks a whole lot like Facebook’s desktop theme.
So, while you might not personally understand how to use each platform, you need to know that they are no longer just an outlet for angst-ridden teens to express their unparalleled levels of angst-ness. In fact, as Facebook demonstrated in 2012 when they went public, there is much money to be made by harnessing the power of these platforms to reach the widest audience.
Social media has leveled the playing field for marketing and advertising. No longer is it only the big media outlets with matching budgets that decide who gets air time. Traditional TV advertisements can run the gamut on cost between production and air time. The range can be anywhere from $2,000 to upwards of several million dollars, depending on whether you are trying to get your brand in front a small local viewing audience or a 30-second slot during the Super Bowl where $5 million is cheap.
But the game has changed, friends. As the good folks over at Lyfe Marketing pointed out, “Social media is cheaper than any form of advertising available today. It is one of the only forms of media that can expose you to over 1,000 people for less than $3.” With a cost comparison like that, it’s pretty clear where you’ll get the most bang for your buck these days.
As an example, let’s look at Facebook. Not only can you get your brand in front of an exact target audience of your choosing, but once it’s out there, those audience members can share it with their connections, who can share it with theirs, and so on. Just like that, your brand is proliferated it all over the Internet for just the little bit of money you paid Facebook initially.
After you pay your initial fee to run the ad for a pre-determined period of time, what happens next is up to your audience. If you run an ad that doesn’t “connect,” with the people who see it you’ll be out whatever money you paid for the ad. Conversely, if you hit it just right, you could garner a significant amount of traffic and business.
But here’s the thing about social media: you don’t even have to run an ad. That’s right; you can build a massive following of die-hard loyalists just by creating an online presence and generating content across multiple platforms that your target consumers identify with. Should you be fortunate enough to strike the right combination of wit, value, and luck and your content go “viral,” you could find your business overwhelmed with more clients and orders than you can handle and your website crashing.
But social media is a double-edged sword. As much as it can spur your business to rock star status, it can also crush a company whose content offends even in the slightest, regardless if it was only a simple misinterpretation or misunderstanding. While social media can be your greatest marketing tool, it should be handled with caution. There is no official playbook for creating and sharing content, marketing or otherwise, via social media but there are glaring examples of how not to do it – like these 10 from last year that the team at CIO highlighted.
Like it or not, social media is a reality you need to embrace if you want your business to succeed. We can help. Hiring a professional agency or social media writer might be one of the best decisions you’ll make this fiscal year.