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Social media is an interesting phenomenon, especially for businesses and customers, and the relationship between the two. Looked at one way, social media provides an opportunity for businesses, giving them a personalized platform to connect with their customers. By using social media as a way to advertise for your company, you can speak directly to the consumer in an arena they are comfortable with. Social media allows businesses to connect with customers while shaping their perceptions of products and services.

Looked at another way, however, social media can be a risk. Instead of the power of advertising and marketing being in the hands of the business, it’s now shifted into the hands of the consumer. Consumers have all the power when it comes to what they want to see and how they respond to what they see. Because of the “social” aspect of social media, your company’s successes, failures, and mistakes are publically displayed, discussed, shared, etc. for the whole world to see. This is a definite risk for businesses that was never such an issue as it is today.

The benefits far outweigh this risk of social media. Social media and social networking will continue to change the behavior and decision making of consumers. Instead of ignoring the way things are going in order to protect themselves, businesses should decide how they will respond to this change for the better, by using the resources available to help promote their reputation and build business through the amazing opportunities supplied by social media and reputation management.

Three Practical Reasons to Use Social Media

There are three main reasons businesses should at least look into implementing social media and reputation management strategies into their marketing strategies.

1) Reduced cost.

If properly implemented, social initiatives can help reduce costs. Social media provides businesses with the means to increase customer service, saving costs and increasing customer satisfaction.

2) Increased revenue.

Engagement with social consumers allows for increased direct communication with consumers. These consumers can then influence others, shaping opinions and in turn expanding the customer base, driving new business.

3) Brand building.

Developing a social forum around your business helps to increase awareness of your brand as well as build brand value. Build up your brand through social media initiatives, increasing perceived value in products and services. This is how you will beat your competition.

Comparing Social Media with Traditional Media

So, why is social media becoming as important, if not more important, than traditional media. Traditional media, as in newspapers and television programs, is still a popular and viable forum for advertising and impacting consumer behavior. But, the reason social media is becoming more and more important for businesses is the ongoing, worldwide conversation through social media. With social media, consumers and businesses are more informed with real-time information and continuous social feedback, making informed decisions and fewer mistakes in their decisions.

Social Media and Trustworthiness

Social media is becoming increasingly important in the development of business reputations and branding. Online and social media change the behaviors and decisions of consumers rapidly. For your business’s reputation management, having a well-crafted, well-managed social media presence is key to having a successful business in the 21st century. Social media is growing in trustworthiness, and even though traditional media is more often used for trustworthy information right now, social media is rapidly taking over as the best way to change opinions and start discussions.

A study conducted by ING on the social media on financial decisions in 2012 found that social media increasingly leads to changes in consumer behavior. For a business to succeed, consumers must want to buy products and services. With a social media presence and the right people helping with your online reputation, you can change perceptions and build business.

The study stated, “Between one-fifth and a quarter of the respondents said posts on social media can alter their opinion about a financial institution, both in a positive and a negative way. More than 50% of consumers who use social media like Facebook on a daily basis said it confirms they chose the right bank. Some 40% of frequent Facebook users said information posted on this platform may even result in them switching banks. Posts on social media are remembered better and more often.”

Another big benefit to businesses using social media is the young demographic. More and more people 65+ are using social media, but the majority of social media users who are impacted by social media marketing are young people. They use it more often and trust it more than people who grew up trusting traditional media. This is a great way for businesses to positively impact young people through social media, keeping them as loyal customers for the long term.

As more and more young people use social media for information, the impact and trustworthiness of traditional media will decline. Right now is the time for businesses to get on the social media bandwagon. An agency can help your awareness and understanding of the market and best practices for social media to keep your business impacting and growing.

Now that you understand the importance of a social media strategy for your company, why not contact us today at 877-799-4256 or visit ChicagosSocialMedia.com for more information about our services. Professional and affordable social media management from only $297.

For a great perspective on the changing face of advertising today see Gary Vaynerchuck’s keynote speech for the INC 500 crowd. Gary is the leading expert in social media and customer interaction.

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