Every now and then something appears that changes the whole paradigm of how business works. The industrial revolution, for example, made mass production a standard procedure. Technology and then the Internet transformed the business world at the end of the 20th century. Now Social Media is having a similar impact.

Much like with specialized tailors being overtaken by mass producers, there is still space for small companies that pride themselves in being old fashioned, local etc. and they quite happily continue their business without any sense of missing out by not being involved with the internet, mass production, advertising, marketing or even phones sometimes. Coming across a sweet old shop like this warms our hearts, but it isn’t exactly how most businesses operate these days.

Social Media is no longer a novelty, an option to try out. It is becoming integral to businesses interacting with consumers, whether businesses like it or not. Sure, there’s always an option. The sweet, local shop also opted out of having phones. But unless you are consciously aiming to run an exclusively “cut off” business, not participating in Social Media means you are falling behind your competitors.

Are you wondering why exactly chatting about the weather or the latest trending topic on Twitter is important to your business? Apart from the fact that the sheer amount of people and opportunity is mind blowing and all in one place (view this clip for more information), here’s why:

Remember customer service?
The advantage a local, old-fashioned shop has over conglomerates – knowing your clients – comes from personal customer service. Having a little chat when they come into the shop, wondering how their dog is doing these days. It creates loyalty and attachment to the business. Consumers have enjoyed online businesses for a couple of decades, sure. There are automated functions that recognize a returning client, good, professional copywriting, which makes the consumer feel appreciated. However, consumers are starting to miss interaction. They want more real people interaction and less automated robot answers. At the same time, consumers are quite happy to get this interaction online. This is exactly what Social Media DOES.

Show your customers you love them
Quite understandably, many businesses are scared to hear the public say “bad stuff” about their company. Some even associate Social Media with being in a position where they’ll be bombarded with complaints. This is simply not the reality, and actually completely misses the point. Most people who interact with brands or companies online do so because they love them so much they actually want to be their friends and associated with them. Furthermore, if there actually are people saying “bad stuff” about the brand, you KNOW! Keeping up with the positive and negative perceptions of your company and reacting quickly will immensely increase a company’s popularity and can actually convert the complainant to a loyal supporter just because of a well-placed, personal interaction.

Being mysterious is out, being approachable is in
As pointed out at the beginning of this article, there are trends in how consumption is actually applied. A lot of the psychology of this consumption can be derived from the advertising of previous decades. The early 90s were all about perfection, success and happiness. Going further back, the 70s were about being a rebel and the coolest guy in town, getting all the girls with THAT bike or THAT hair gel. Today, sustainability pushes people’s buttons (yes, it is actually sexy). But even more so, it is about being attainable, approachable and genuinely caring. And unlike advertising, Social Media isn’t a trend. It’s a groundbreaking new interactive technology that is quickly expanding. In fact, the amount of time you’ve been involved with Social Media makes a difference to your standing with your consumers. But more about that next time!

 

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