Social media has become an important marketing tool for any business that wants to succeed in the current marketplace. It is a landscape that is constantly changing, and if you do not keep on top of your social media marketing techniques, it is easy to get left behind. No one can know for sure what 2013 will bring for social media, but the companies who thrive are the ones who are ready and quick to adapt. We cannot predict which new social networks will make an impact in 2013, or which will start to lose influence. In fact, the only thing that we can predict, is that social media will continue to be unpredictable. But whatever form it takes, social media is going to continue to be a major force in marketing. So if you do not want to get left behind, 2013 is your last chance to get social media marketing right.
Is it that important?
A recent study by the Princeton Review, 85 percent of people said that they expect businesses to be active in social media. Unless your target demographic happens to fall perfectly in that remaining 15 percent, a presence on social media is essential for your company. That same study said that 79 percent of companies are already either using, or planning to use social media. So you might be thinking that, because your company has an account on Twitter or Facebook, you are all set. However, the most damning statistic is this one: of that 79 percent, only 12 percent are using social media effectively. Your company might not be sitting as pretty as you might have hoped.
What all of these facts show us is that, if you are not part of that 12 percent, you are already falling behind, and if you are not part of the 79 percent, 2013 is a crucial year for you change things around if you do not want to fall into complete obscurity.
Some companies are doing it right
Social media provides as much of an advantage to you as it does your customers. This direct channel of communication allows customers to voice their opinions about the service provided, and allows you as a company to respond to them. This kind of a system benefits both parties. The customer receives better service, and the company learns useful ways to improve. Some companies have already realized this, and are very good at devoting resources to social media customer service. Companies such as Best Buy, Vivint and Oreo have had massive social media presences in the last few months, and their business has flourished as a result.
Companies that do it wrong can suffer
On the other hand, it is far more common for bad social media techniques to negatively affect a company. Brands such as McDonalds, Comcast and United Airlines have been injured in the past by viral posts on social media, followed by an insufficient response or complete backfire. If you do not have a social media expert tracking and quickly putting out fires, bad publicity can quickly spread beyond your control.
Social media started as a fun online networking tool, but it is now an important business tool for both companies and consumers. Those who do not take social media seriously will fall behind, and those who do not keep up with it may suffer the most of all. Social media will be bigger in 2013 than it has ever been before, and if you do not want your company to be left behind, this is your last chance to get it right.