Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you probably realize that there is a lot of buzz surrounding Social Media. As a marketing tool, Social Media is still in its infancy and most companies are jumping into it without a clear understanding of how to use it and how it might benefit them. While it is clear that you can quickly boost your SEO with proper use of Social Media, the long term benefits remain unclear.
As it evolves and some of the initial excitement wanes, we can expect to see fewer new entrants as many companies figure out that Social Media is not a silver bullet that will slay all that ails them. While much remains to be seen, Social Media is already proving to be a useful tool for one of the cornerstones of any successful marketing foundation. I’m talking about research.
The research capability provided by Social Media can take either a formal or informal shape, but it generally falls into several different categories. We generally group the benefits into three categories and see them as follow.
- Social Media gives customers/consumers an opportunity to interact with each other. Social Media has the unique ability to provide a virtual meeting place for your franchise consumers to meet other like-minded people that share a relationship with your brand and, potentially, strengthen that relationship. This is a great way to let happy consumers interact with and influence other consumers in a positive manner.
- Social Media gives you an opportunity to watch both of these. Although you may not have the ability to control what goes on with Social Media, you can definitely learn from it. It’s happening right there in front of you and shame on you if you don’t study what’s taking place and learn from it. We liken Social Media to one big ongoing focus group that provides constant insight into consumer perceptions on your brand campaigns.
Evolution or Revolution?
It’s probably too early to tell whether Social Media is an evolution or a revolution, but it’s not too early to recognize that it offers some new and unique marketing opportunities. Social Media is not necessarily a good fit for every company or brand but it can be an effective tool for certain activities. When viewed in the context of research, it can be both an inexpensive and effective complement to your other marketing programs.