Using social media to run your business (Part 1)


05-September-2011

Social media is becoming gradually more of a tool of choice for advertising, but will it ever replace conventional ways of doing business, such as newspaper advertising, banners, brochures and TV commercials?

In the days before the internet and other forms of media became popular as a business tool, businesses already had ways to market themselves, make business development and strategic plans.

Nowadays there are hundreds of ways on the internet alone to make known one’s product, company or fulfil other advertising needs. 

Social media can take various forms, such as internet forums, weblogs (blogs), social blogs, micro-blogging, wikis, podcasts, photographs or pictures and video.

There are also social networking sites like Facebook, and Twitter, virtual game worlds, for example World of Warcraft and virtual social worlds like Second Life. Technologies behind those types of social media can include blogs, picture-sharing, video-logs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing and crowd-sourcing.

How many times have you been browsing the internet and been constantly bothered by irritating pop-ups, asking you everything, from filling in feedback forms, to buying all sorts of products.

Facebook, for example, has a column on the right hand side of the page where adverts are listed and users can either refresh to see other adverts or react to one they like.

Social media can be accessed from anywhere, on devices such as a mobile phone, laptop or ipad. Through them, not only can one comment or give feedback on a certain product, but one can also see other people’s feedback as well!

There are a number of ways businesses are using social media to advertise, the most popular of which is currently Facebook. Some create adverts, which they post on the network, others create pages or groups for their company, which people can either “Like”, join or comment on.

A regular advertiser on Facebook said he prefers this social media because it is free and a lot of potential customers have access to the internet and can see his “posts”. Furthermore, each time one of those potential customers reacts to an advert, it is further spread to that customer’s other Facebook friends.

Apart from company websites, a good portion of marketing is done by employees on their personal online pages. An employee of a local telecommunications company pointed out that companies do not exist without people.

“Companies are first and foremost made up of people and people have friends, acquaintances, business contacts and so on,” she said.

On the other hand, a client faithful to newspaper advertising thinks a lot more people read newspapers’ advert columns than go online.

“Not that many people are subscribed to online advertising groups compared to people who grab a newspaper every morning,” he said. 

In one of our next issues, we’ll take a look at how the businesses in Seychelles use social media to their advantage and how you can turn your business around without having to move from your chair, by simply logging on to the internet.

By Ivan Hollanda

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