Why Social Media Works - A Simple Explanation for Business Owners

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Social media has provided a voice for the masses and, as a business owner, has made it impossible to ignore.
Social media gives the ability to build relationships with real people in real-time.
It allows a business to connect with other businesses and current or potential customers immediately.
When done correctly, social media will build relationships which can manifest a potential customer or turn an existing customer into a highly effective instrument of marketing.
Social media is just that, social.
It's interactive, it requires the input and engagement of multiple parties and will not work if it is treated as a one-sided conversation - enter traditional advertising.
The general populace is skeptical about traditional advertising because they know it is a message coming directly from the company trying to sell them something and therefore carries no credibility.
Many companies treat social media as another advertising medium and are disappointed to find their social media campaign ineffective.
Remember, Facebook and Twitter pages are not a place to dump your advertising language; regurgitating your specials is not being interactive - it is being selfish.
When used correctly an advertising campaign can be effective and just like any tool it has an appropriate application.
Many business owners make the mistake of jumping into an advertising campaign unaided with the idea that it will generate customers.
This is not the case.
The best traditional advertising can do is turn a head for a brief moment and create a possible lead.
The accepted behavior is to jam as much information as possible into a 30 second clip, create a call to action by repeating the company's phone number three or four times and then crossing your fingers.
This is a common mistake that hangs the entire reputation of the brand on the call to action.
For instance, if an advertising program drives someone to call a phone number and then nobody answers the phone or an automated service answers you have lost that lead.
Not only is the lead lost, that individual is left with an emotive reaction to the brand; which in this case is "poor customer service".
Instead, advertising should be used to introduce potential customers to your brand and then allow social media to turn that lead into a customer by building trust through interaction with the brand.
This strategy is substantially more effective as it allows a lead to develop into a customer on their terms engraining the brand into their mind.
The customer then becomes an ambassador for the brand because they adopted the brand through trust instead of having a message forced into their mind which has little staying power.
Utilizing social media to this end will increase conversions, increase customer retention and establishes the most effective marketing tool in existence: an ever growing database of captive customers that can be communicated with at any time.
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