The Internet has not only changed itself over the last two decades, but it has also changed the way that consumers are receiving their information. In a recent webinar, sponsored by RealMatch, presenter Shannon Kiney, founder of Dream Local Digital, points out that a current, single online weekend edition of the New York Times contains more content than someone who lived in the 1850s would have consumed in their entire lifetime. What this means is that there is more and more content available to people than ever before, and your trade association needs to take note of this if you want to grow your organization.
Social Media Plays a Huge Part
These days, much of this new content is being generated by social media. In the past, word-of-mouth was one of the most popular ways business owners could spread the world, and today it still is … in the form of social media comments and shares. On top of that, social media provides a platform through which business owners can engage their customers and potential customers. This provides the chance to not only build brand loyalty, but also to address potential reputation-damaging events before they get out of control. Previously, a PR crisis was difficult to wrangle as people involved in a poor experience would tell their friends without the business owner being able to intervene. Today, however, negative opinions, experiences, and comments can be addressed in real time, lowering the potential for additional brand damage.
Leveraging Social Media for B2B Interactions
Another important aspect of social media for local businesses is its ability to market one’s services to other businesses. Because so many business owners have their companies online, they can connect with others, sharing needs along the way. If your business has a social media profile on Twitter and you follow another business that discusses its need for more effective widgets, you can jump in and start a conversation that may lead to a business partnership. This also provides your business with a chance to find other business partners if you’re in need. The key here is that social media allows a relationship to develop naturally as opposed to sending out sales letters or other solicitations.
Social Media Allows for Native Advertising
One of the biggest advantages of using social media is the efficient and effective ability to engage in native advertising. Essentially, native advertising is advertising that doesn’t look like advertising, therefore, it is believed to be more approachable and enticing to consumers. For example, Facebook provides business owners with the ability to create advertisements that show up in targeted users’ news feeds. These ads look, for all intents and purposes, just like status updates from the users’ friends. Instead of being blatant ads that might push a user away, these native ads are more likely to be clicked on because they come across as familiar. While native advertising can certainly be used elsewhere on the web, it seems that social media is one of the most effective places to put it into practice.