In the first of TB Marketing’s debates, Ben argues FOR the use of social media by businesses…

In a society where Facebook reigns, where nothing is confirmed unless ‘tweeted’ and professional bloggers earn more money than many businessmen, it is a wonder that people still question the power of social media.

It’s very easy to assume, as ‘web people’ who have been socialised into a world with TV on demand, YouTube and the ever factual Wikipedia that virtually everybody is using social media these days – however this is far from the truth.

People use social media whilst businesses tend to reluctantly jump on the Twitter bandwagon. Saying that, when businesses use social media well – they do it very well.

Engaging in social media and blogging on a steady basis helps to achieve constant visibility with your target audience, participating in conversations and debates, sharing daily food for thought, and making yourself and your brand part of their everyday life only adds to your reputation.

Social media is not the answer to everything, of course it isn’t. It’s not the final piece of the business puzzle that will allow you to take a struggling company to the height of success simply by claiming your Twitter account. No. What social media can do is make your company better by constructing a platform from which you can listen, react and change and most importantly you can do so faster and more efficiently than ever before.

If you receive praise, simply thanking the user for their custom and taking the time to comment makes the customer feel valued and therefore increases the chance of them using your services again.

There will always be people who complain, irrespective of how excellent your product/ service is and yes, with social media such as Facebook or Twitter the negative comments could potentially be seen by many. However, what will also be seen by many is how you, as a business, react to negative feedback and as a result could leave you looking like the caring, customer-orientated business you are. Creating such a network and reaching out to customers allows you to strengthen your business community whilst appearing focused on interacting with clients and increasing the number of voices ‘talking’ about your company.

Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, said “People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.”

Social media brings people together, and in turn connects people with businesses. If someone you know and trust ‘likes’ a product, ‘tweets’ about a company or starts following them on any form of social media, you know about it and it spreads.

There has never before been such a widely-accessible and influential medium like this before, if businesses use social media effectively and to their full potential it could well be a priceless tool, having a huge and unprecedented impact on their future success.

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