Everyone is now using social media in some form or another. We have always used texts and software like Friends Reunited to connect with old friends and catch up. But we are now swamped with apps and websites offering us the people of the world in various forms and guises. We could actually spend all our waking hours surfing and communicating in one form or another. We have never been more connected.
But does it help the business community?
Just as businesses have, for years and years, networked together at various meetings and connectivity events, now we are all frantically connecting and chasing followers, connections and whatever else they may be called on whichever site or app at any given time in the distant hope of finding that new client, that new customer who will be a great boom to our business. But does that actually happen? There has been a recent experiment by none other than Coca Cola. They wanted to test whether social media could be as effective as their usual marketing and actually increase the response to a marketing campaign. They carefully assessed and analysed feedback from a structured campaign and in the end found that it made on difference whatsoever.
Now Cocal Cola is a very large brand – maybe the largest brand on the planet, alongside Apple – so it’s not a good comparison to a small business, but, it does highlight a possible failing of social media. Perhaps we can all connect to other like minded people. Perhaps we can gain zillions of followers and connections. But does that actually generate sales? Do any of those followers/connections buy our products?
I suspect it depends what your product is. If you are a pub or restaurant and you need to get a ‘buzz’ out there about a special event, to attract local people to come along and spend some money. Yes, social media would probably help. But would it attract more than if you put up some posters and did a leaflet drop. I don’t know. I suspect not. It would certainly tap into a different market. Those people who are using social media regularly and are interested in your establishment enough to be following you or at least take an interest in you. But would all your local neighbourhood be using one of the many social media apps – I don’t think so. So there is still a place for good old fashioned marketing and advertising. Yes, use social media as an additional marketing strategy, but it must be just that. Something you do in addition to the tried and tested methods that have worked for years.