From the one-man-shows to international corporations, businesses are rapidly recognizing the power of communication directly with consumers through various social media platforms. Since the time of electricity-enabled radio and TV broadcasts, social media has agreeably revolutionized the virtual form of interaction. With a billion people online, smart phones comprising half of all new cell phone purchases and 400 million people sharing billion pieces of data, it is safe to say that the impact of social media has been enormous.
The Business world has now accepted and fully grasped the advantages that social media has to offer for customer interaction and services. With one word of mouth conversation worth two hundred TV ads, the social media has a successful positive impact on their customers. This is in fact true, because if fifty percent of a Facebook or Twitter user has recommended a brand online, forty percent of the customers intend to like them on Facebook.
The success rates of such transactions have become so high that now, eighty-six percent of the companies will have at least a couple of employees working partly with social media. As of 2014, the corporate social media budget has increased from seven hundred million to over three billion dollars within a span of 5-6 years. A very relevant example would be PEPSI which has invested over twenty million dollars on social media after 23 years of Super Bowl advertisements.
Case Study: HCC Medical Insurance Social Service Strategy
HCC Medical Insurance Services’ social strategy case study highlights how, a large company can use social media to improve their customer service, and step up their business at the same time. HCC increased their social influence by 227% and saw significant gains of 37% in referral traffic from Facebook and 42% from LinkedIn in just one quarter, while their corporate Twitter page rank swooped up to rank 5.
So how did they manage to skillfully change their business strategies in such a short time?
- By integrating educational messages with entertaining activities to keep them attracted.
- Promoting company news through press release and blogs.
- Using key word alerts to respond to sales opportunities.
- Applying proven techniques from traditional call center marketing to social conversations.
- Using social conversations to meet customer needs in that medium.
- And monitoring brand mentions to directly address potential customer issues.
HCCMIS innovated their online issue response plan by:
- Constant social monitoring.
- Periodical assessments.
- Immediate customer complaint response.
- Resolving a problem and keeping a tab or checkup on the solution.
The rise of social relevance means like-mindedness, it is the new proximity. Knowledge and best practices, like using effective language or keywords, posting at peak times, and blogging are keys to keeping your reach to the maximum. The Flesch-Kincaid grade proves by using productive language, readability grade levels of Re-tweets are higher than Tweets; while blogging shows almost double outreach than no blogging.
Some definitive benefits of social media marketing:
- Increased exposure and outreach
- Increased traffic
- Developed loyal fans
- Generated leads
- Improved search ranking
- Grew business partnerships and collaborations
- Reduced marketing expenses
- Improved sales and marketing
- Improved public relations
- Improved customer service
- Provided marketplace insight
Companies using social media for marketing need to embrace that social networking platform are double edge swords. It is invariably different from the traditional media wherein every dialogue used to come-out after so many refinements & approvals, best suited for a positive reaction from customers. In social media, everyone has their own opinion and in such a situation making people correct wrong information and making them learn a right thing is the biggest challenge which companies will have to face from time to time.
It is evident that social media will continue to have a compelling impact at present on marketers and business owners and entrepreneurs. They now have the ability to reach out and exchange information or ideas on a personal level with their target audience on a daily basis. This is a game changer for businesses engaging in marketing, sales, customer service and other corporate activities. Improvisations, conducting surveys and following statistics are some secrets to a successful company. Factually, today, their importance is no longer debated.