Social media is becoming an indispensable part of the marketing mix for many businesses and one of the best ways to reach customers and clients.
Social media platforms, such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have a number of benefits for companies and are fast overtaking traditional media formats such as print and TV ads, brochures, flyers and email campaigns. On top of that social media is now an integral part of your organic SEO efforts because of the links that social medial can naturally generate to your site. Here are just a few of the many advantages social media has over traditional media.
Traditional media can be extremely expensive, especially for small businesses. In contrast, most social media platforms are completely free to use, the only cost to businesses being the time spent on updating profiles and interacting with contacts. This is one of the initial benefits of social media, in that it is accessible to more business owners because of the low cost barrier of entry.
The low cost of entry to social media makes it particularly useful to small businesses who often find the costs associated with traditional media prohibitive.
Businesses can use social media to create and distribute promotional material, such as articles, videos and audio for a fraction of the money it would cost for this content to appear in the press, on the radio or on TV. And distributing this content via social media provides you with more opportunities to entice others to link to your content. This is a great way to enhance your organic SEO authority.
In many ways, social media levels the playing field for businesses as it is accessible to anyone, regardless of company size, turnover and contacts. Social media tools are open to anyone, whereas reaching the traditional media often requires a lot of money and a good network of media industry contacts.
A high level of skill, training and specialist equipment is involved in traditional media production. In comparison, social media channels are extremely simple to use, even for people with basic IT experience; all that is required is a computer and an internet connection.
Traditional media can reach a global audience but this is usually very costly and time-consuming. Through social media, businesses can communicate information in a flash, regardless of geographical location. Social media platforms also allow you to tailor your content for each market segment and give businesses the opportunity to get their messages across more widely than ever before. Indeed, once a piece of content goes viral, there is no limit to the amount of people it could potentially reach, all at no extra cost for the business.
Social media channels offer unparalleled opportunities to interact with customers and build relationships, largely due to their real-time, interactive nature. Companies can source feedback, test ideas and manage customer services quickly and directly online in a way traditional media could not.
Whereas traditional media only allow for one-way communication, Facebook, Twitter and the likes give customers the chance to select the type and frequency of messages to receive and send out. The business – customer proximity characteristic of the social media outlets also allows for a more open communication process, as opposed to simply pushing out sales messages.
Social media’s adaptability makes content management generally more flexible. Information can be updated, altered, supplemented and discussed in a way completely unknown to a printed advertisement, a newspaper article or magazine feature.
What is more, information can be published in seconds, making it possible for businesses to ensure that their content is always up to date – a condition to a more prominent spot in the search engine rankings.
Social media stats are immediately measurable, whereas traditional media figures often need to be monitored over a long period of time. With social media, businesses can test marketing messages and approaches, gauge user responses and tweak the message accordingly. This is done through the ever-growing number of free, easy-to-use social media measurement tools.
Although many businesses are getting on board with social media, others are still a bit cautious of completely breaking away from traditional media and embracing the social media. But can your company really afford to ignore the social media, given its unquestionable assets?
If after reading this, you are still intimidated by social media, think about the opportunities that you could miss out. There’s nothing to lose so why don’t you dip your toes in? Get online, listen, get a feel for different spaces and start experimenting with content and interaction. You’ll soon discover the benefits for yourself.
Christian Arno is the founder of Lingo24, one of the world’s fastest growing translation companies. Launched in the UK in 2001, Lingo24 now spans three continents and has clients in more than sixty countries. Lingo24 has translated for businesses in every industry sector. Follow Christian (@l24ca) and Lingo24 (@Lingo24) on Twitter.