The 19th Century brought us the telephone, electricity and the light bulb. The 20th can proudly boast the invention of the personal computer, television and antibiotics.
So far, the 21st has given us Justin Bieber, the rise of social media and a TV game show where Keith Chegwin and contestants braved an assault course completely naked.
Give it time, it’s early days.
OK so Naked Jungle hasn’t exactly stood the test of time but social media is here to stay – and it has already become an essential part of most businesses’ marketing strategies.
Whether you are a fan of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Quora, Pinterest – or none of the above – you can rest assured many of your potential customers are.
Sites like these are people’s mouthpieces to the world. Just imagine the difference it could make if you could ensure your company or product is the word on their lips when they start shouting.
But getting your company talked about is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are our top-five reasons why social media could help your business:-
1 Page ranking on search engines
Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn carry some serious sway with search engines like Google and Bing.
This means having well optimised social media profiles will ensure your brand jumps the queue when people are trawling the internet for search terms that are relevant to your business or products.
As keen followers of our blogs will know, less than 6% of people who visit a search engine bother going to the second page of results. So get on page one. Social media will help.
2 Mass appeal
You don’t need me to tell you how many UK adults use social media. Or maybe you do, in which case it’s nearly 30 million – and rising.
A billion people across the world use Facebook alone so by using social media you are opening the door to all corners of an earth with no boundaries or borders.
Approximately 60% of Facebook users like one or more brands – and more than half of them say they are more likely to purchase goods or services from those brands. A like isn’t a guarantee but it’s a start.
3 Brand loyalty
Brand loyalty can’t always be measured but that doesn’t make it any less important – and having a presence on Facebook, Twitter and the like reassures customers you can be trusted.
Even when it doesn’t result in direct sales, you can harness these sites to strengthen and humanise your brand in a way that corporate lingo can’t.
Stats show that happy customers who engage with your brand on social media spend on average 21% more than those who don’t. They follow you on social media in the first place because they like you – but following you on social media helps them like you more.
4 Customer feedback
Social media is an easy way to find out what a customer thinks of your brand or latest product.
Not only does this pave the way for any changes you might want to make, it also increases your integrity in their eyes too.
Be prepared for some bad feedback, but use it to your advantage. More than 80% of customers who complain about a product on Twitter and receive a reply are impressed – and they are more likely to spend more in the future as a result.
5 Increase your mailing list
Social media allows you to maintain contact with existing customers, ensuring they don’t forget about you.
It is also a proven way of expanding your mailing list, a powerful weapon for businesses of all sizes when contacting customers with new products or ideas.
If you can get people to read your latest blog that’s even better – research shows companies that blog have 55% more website visitors than those who don’t.
The seeds of social media were sown before the millennium but it has only gained any serious momentum in the last decade or so – making it one of the talking points of the 21st Century in our humble opinion.
Businesses can’t beat a recommendation that comes via word of mouth – and social media is word of mouth that has been turbocharged for our times.
It is not just about keeping in touch with your friends or the latest trends. It can revolutionise business as well.
Social media might not cure disease or help you see after dark but maybe the 21st century does have something to shout about after all. And if the 21st century did want to shout, you can bet your bottom dollar it would be using social media to do it.