photo: stevendepolo
How many times have you heard the phrase “social media” over the past few years? Without a doubt everyone has heard about social media but few can probably define it accurately. A good definition of social media would be internet technology that allows the sharing of opinions, perspectives and insights between people from all around the world.  At any one time there are a number of popular social media websites being utilized including the following:
Social networking sites – Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ and Twitter
Video Sharing sites – Youtube
Image Sharing – Pinterest, Flickr & Instagram
News – Reddit, Digg & many others.
Online Gaming – Call to Duty, World of Warcraft, and many others.

The popularity of these sites make them large targets for businesses hungry for more customers. Social media has ushered in a whole new way to communicate with customers and lowered the cost to do so at the same time. Social media offers more than just an efficient communication channel for business.  It provides a great tool for getting in touch with the target market and researching customer behavior and preferences.  As if that wasn’t enough there are three other areas in which social media excels that promises to add sales and profits to companies that take advantage of its strengths.

One of these is Customer Service.  Let’s take a look at how Best Buy uses social media to grow. Best Buy utilizes a program called Twelpforce to help encourage their staff to answer customer questions promptly. Today people expect answers quickly and the ability to do so makes a huge difference in customer perceptions and opinions of companies in all industries.  Having their communication acknowledged quickly is what customers want.

Another valuable characteristic of social media is that it provides businesses of all sizes an inexpensive tool for internal communication and sharing ideas.  Employees can work together over wide geographic areas as if they were in the same office.

The third method may not be as obvious to many people but it involves employee recruitment and retention.  Many people check for information about a company through social media and decide if they want to work for the company from what they learn.

There is no doubt social media is here to stay and business will have to adapt to and keep pace with the both the advantages and disadvantages that come with being selling in a connected marketplace.

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