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Why should you be using Social Media?

April 10, 2009

Advertisers are always looking for “the next big thing.” First there were TV jingles, then the dot-com boom lead to companies using the Internet in ways that were previously inconceivable (imagine if someone had told you 15 years ago that, in less than two decades, you would be able to do all your shopping, including food, clothing, and even a car or house, through your personal computer or iphone).  Nowadays, it’s social media marketing.


Social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, and blogging, is changing the way companies reach out to customers. Traditional PR strategies are being thrown on the window, with Twitterers tittering through tweets about companies who still think traditional advertising is working. It seems like these days everyone in using some form of social media: my mom has a Facebook account, my bank has a blog, and a representative from JetBlue is following me on Twitter at this very moment (I’ve never actually flown with them).


So why are businesses hopping on the social media bandwagon?

1. It’s all in the Network

Rule #1 of business: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Check out this video from Common Craft to see how social media improves your networking abilities:

Networking is vital for a company’s success. Social media is a more effective way of expanding your network. You’re able to connect with a variety of people through the social media networks they’re already using. It’s as easy as replying to them on Twitter or commenting regularly on their blog post. Pretty simple, right?

Ultimately, the goal of social media is to draw more people to your website, increasing awareness and trust in your company and eventually leading to more sales. The breadth of networking that social media allows for, far greater than the number of people you could hold in your Rolodex, can greatly increase that traffic.

2. Niche Marketing

Part of being successful is knowing which sections of the population you want to target. If you’re selling luxury furniture, you don’t want to waste your time and money sending advertisements to college students who can barely afford food and rent. You want to target those niches of the population who are most likely to buy your product.

After identifying your target audiences, the Internet provides a far easier means of targeting and reaching out to those niches. Simple keyword searches allow you to connect with the people most likely to be interested in your company. And when you’re only trying to appeal to a few people who already have a genuine interest for your product, the effort will be far more successful.

3. It Creates Dialogue

Shooting out press releases or commercials only creates a one-way conversation with no dialogue or feedback. But customers want to contribute, and demand that their voices be heard.

Take Dell for instance: Dell’s reputation and sales figures were being damaged by customers who felt like they weren’t being listened to, when the company chose to completely revamped their image. Dell created the blog  “Direct2Dell” and a Twitter account, allowing customers to easily ask questions, communicate with them, and be informed. Dell listened to the customers’ wants and ideas, and even implemented some of them. The dialogue that it generated allowed the company to improve their image, attract new customers while retaining old ones, and create products that people genuinely wanted.

4.It builds Customer Loyalty

Customers want to able to interact with the human behind the corporation. This deeper connection is something that traditional marketing never allowed, and people are genuinely excited about it.  If you respond to a concerned customer on Twitter, you’ve help solidify their decision to invest in your product/service. Even something as simple as regularly posting on your blog will help your company image: if you consistently post twice a week, that demonstrates your commitment to keeping your customers informed.

And finally….

5. It’s Cheap!

The best focus group moderators cost up to $3,000 per hour. Legal advice can easily cost $500 an hour. A thirty-second Super Bowl commercial slot will cost you $3 million, not including the cost of making that commercial.


The majority of social media outlets are free: Twitter, Facebook, even most blog hosts. WordPress will even let you create your own domain name for just $15 a year. There’s no high cost to pay a promotional specialist because the vast majority of the work can be done in house; worst comes to worst, and you can hire a college intern to do it for you (we’d love the experience!). The low cost means more income stays inside the company. Maybe that money can go toward new product development, after you use your social media connections to get customers to tell you what they want?


Like all things, social media takes time and commitment if you want to use it to effectively promote your business. However, compared to more traditional forms of marketing, it’s a far more effective means, both in cost and connections made.

So give it a try: create a Twitter account, post on a blog, and see what happens. Even if it doesn’t work out, it will certainly be less financially catastrophic than a $3 million commercial flop.


Post Written by: Ruth Hickok

One Comment leave one →
  1. kellimatthews permalink*
    April 12, 2009 9:56 am

    Outstanding run-down of all the great reasons that organizations should be participating in social media. The ability to create dialogue with niche markets – groups of people who are interested in what YOU have to share – is so powerful.

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