Social media is a constant evolution, taking new shapes as technology advances and consumers have the need for the next new idea, and the next way to share their lives. Marketing has changed greatly from the days of newspaper advertisements and plans that are spread out over months. Marketing has evolved to fit the fast paced world of social media as another outlet for publicizing your company name and earning new customers at the click of a heart shaped icon or thumbs up button.

Social media has certainly shaped modern marketing, making it a fast paced world out there. Marketers have to think not only as their target demographic, but also how to deal with all the other people who may not like what they have to say. Marketers have to be a step ahead of the general population, and have to be ready to take on many challenges that they would not have encountered even a decade ago.

There are many positives of social media, and when used smartly it can be a valuable tool. When it falls into the wrong hands, a company can be one accidental post away from a huge scandal. Knowing how to use it properly will help enhance a company’s image, but inexperience will shine a bad light.

More Conversations Give Consumers a Real Look at Your Company
One of the major positives of social media is that you are able to engage in conversations with your customers. It’s a constant discussion of what people think of what you have to offer, paired with the differing feedback of others. This all happens without your input, but once a company starts to respond to their clients, people feel connected.

You’re able to offer fast answers, personalized solutions for your customers without them having to wade through a maze of hold music and pressing the pound button. When done correctly, your interactions will not only make a positive impression on the direct client you are helping, but anyone who reads the comment.

On the other hand, when done poorly, people can lose respect for your company or question your abilities. One wrong typo, a frustrated CSR, or impression of apathy can send a negative message to thousands of people. While social media may be easy to use, that doesn’t mean that just anyone should use it. Educate yourself and your team about how to react, and you’ll have smooth sailing in the waves of the world wide web.

Instant Sharing Allows Relevance
Companies can stay relevant to pop culture, current news, and even weather trends via social media. Food deliveries benefit during blizzards by offering storm specials, while retailers can offer support to those affected by natural disasters, and bars can offer specials after winning the big game. Instant sharing of ideas and specials over social media can be a great way to draw attention to your business.

What it also requires is fast paced marketing. While some ideas can be on standby until they become relevant, like specials after the game, knowing how and when to deploy other ideas that don’t have planning time requires a quick thinking marketing team who can take new information and turn it into an idea that can help benefit the community. That’s how a company can stay relevant, rather than offering their feedback in a quarterly newsletter that hits people’s inboxes weeks after something has happened.

Millions of Followers without Paying a Dime
Your company has the potential to gain hundreds of thousands of followers without even writing a check. Paid advertising is still an option, but with a healthy and popular social media page, every time you post anything to them, a good fraction of your active followers will see what you have to say, at no charge to you. And it’s not just followers… anytime anyone interacts with your page, their friends may see it. This expands the window even more.

This means you can be less selective in your great ideas. You don’t have to choose one or the other due to budget. You’re able to share whatever you want, whenever you want, and however you want. Within reason, of course, you don’t want to be unfollowed, but as long as you know what you’re doing on social media, your budget will thank you.

Targeted Advertising to those Who Chose to Follow You
The best part about social media followers is how specifically you can aim your advertising to your target demographic. When it comes to followers, these are people who have actively decided they want to follow your page and see what you have to say and offer. With television and radio, you can somewhat narrow it down, but you aren’t going to have as a precise group of people for either of those medias.

Not only this, with paid advertising outside of those who follow your page, you can target advertising and marketing towards certain specific demographics based on other pages or accounts an individual has followed. This allows you to find people similar to those who already are interested in what you have to offer, making your job much easier to market towards a particular group.

The Good and Bad of Going Viral
The part of social media that scares many is the possibility of going viral. Going viral can be a major way to gain free publicity, but depending on why you went viral can make this a very good thing for your company… or a very bad thing. Social media posts and images go viral all the time, whether as a result of a witty response from a business, or as a result of a bad experience with a customer.

Knowing that everything you say has the possibility of being seen by millions of people certainly can cramp your style when it comes to social media. Having a plan in place as to how to deal with particular situations can help you to remain in a positive light to customers. Otherwise, you may see your name in the headlines, and not for a good reason.

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