What is social media?
Social media is a world unto itself. It is a way to share, like, comment, connect, message, tweet, and follow. Presently dominated by trending and searchable topics, social media is a major platform for people to receive friend updates, daily news, and even specials offered by their favorite businesses. It is a powerful outlet considering the fact that live updates are available on desktops, tablets, and mobile phones.
Who typically uses it?
According to a study performed by the Pew Research Center in 2015, 76% of online adults use social media platforms. There are variations in usage depending on demographics. For example, younger Internet users (ages 18-29) continue to use social media more than any other age group older than age 29. Social media usage also varies depending on urban versus rural living, ethnicity, gender, and overall lifestyle habits.
The amount of businesses utilizing social media is now growing exponentially to meet the needs and interests of consumers. Unfortunately, from a business perspective, understanding how to effectively use social media to represent a brand is a difficult challenge. Some companies are hiring social media specialists to tackle just this issue. Social media has become such an essential and integrated part of our lives, that if businesses do not use this platform as a means to connect to consumers, they are missing out.
Business to Consumer (B2C) Branding
As with any kind of marketing, branding and creating a business identity and personality is crucial. This identity has to be altered slightly to fit the medium it is presented from, yet convey a consistent underlying message that connects with consumers. This remains true when it comes to social media.
Tips for effective B2C social media usage
- Analytics – using software such as Google Analytics or analytic software built into a social media platform can help to portray your company’s identity effectively. This software lets you see first-hand what kinds of consumers are interested in your product, what kinds of posts they are most interested in, and what time of day they visit the platform, among much else. It allows you to determine whom your business personality is targeting and then shift your online image if necessary.
- Humanize your image – connecting with consumers online can sometimes feel impersonal. com explains that humanizing this experience by interacting with customers (asking for feedback as an example) will help validate their opinions and help you determine what customers are truly looking for.
- Maintain creativity – as Entrecom describes, reading similarly formatted or phrased posts every week is boring. Your customers will ignore the posts and disengage, reflecting negatively on your company.
- Sharing is caring – one of the best features of social media is the ability to share. Individuals and other businesses can share updates and specials, so encourage your clientele and followers to share your message. Mom and Pop businesses once upon a time survived on word-of-mouth to send referrals. Social media sharing is a virtual equivalent.
Social media was once intended for personal usage and connecting people to each other. Ultimately, this is what social media users are still looking for, even if they are following a business account – personal connections. Although we are living in a more virtual world, people spend their money and time on things that resonate with them directly.
If your branding inspires clientele with your specific, inspiring, and personal brand versus a generic “Happy Halloween” or “Happy Thanksgiving,” your customer loyalty will continue to thrive in the online world of social media.
Written by: Alexandra Kennedy
Alexandra is a freelance and contract writer based in the Greater Boston area. She is a biologist, animal lover, lifelong student, and traveler.