There is no doubt that trends within the industry of business are continuously changing. What in the past seemed like a two-dimensional process (make and/or acquire a product and sell a product); has become a much more dynamic production. Likely the result of a fluctuating economy combined with significant advancements in technology – businesses of today are much different than they were 5 years ago, and are likely to continue to evolve even more in the next 5 years.
So what are the four wheels providing the foundation for the vehicle that is driving you forward toward continued profitability? We would say that they are: Social Media, Cloud Computing, Business Intelligence and Analytics, and Mobile Data Access. Over the next several weeks, we will be discussing each of these in further detail. This week we will be taking a look at the importance of socializing your business in order to stay ahead of the curve.
Part One: Social Media
Gone are the days when you can entice a number of people through your product offerings alone. Now people want to be engaged, cared for, and be given the opportunity to provide feedback on products and services. Just look at Yelp. As of this writing Yelp has more than 102 million visitors per month, and more than 39 million rich, local reviews. What was once believed to be a short-lived trend has become one of the four most important factors for long-term business success. Let’s take a look at some statistics:
- 80% of people prefer to get coupons, promos and discounts from companies they follow in social media.
- 43% of internet consumers are a fan or follower of the company’s social page(s).
- 20% of Facebook users have made a purchase from an ad on the site.
- 85% of internet users have a Facebook account, and 42% of people have mentioned a company or brand in a status update.
- 67% of Twitter users are more likely to buy brands that they follow.
- 70% of consumer complaints posted on twitter are ignored by offending companies; though the 30% that do respond are rewarded with a ‘like’ or ‘love’ by 83% of customers who complained thus signaling a repaired relationship.
- 86% of companies surveyed believe that modern technology (which includes social business) will change the way they do business in the future.
Taking advantage of the benefits of social media is crucial to driving your business forward. If you want to get your name, product, service, etc. out there you need to go where the people are…and they are online. In fact a final statistic from October of last year shows that there are more mobile devices connected to the internet than there are people on earth! Building your visibility in front of your customers will give you friends, fans, and followers who are interested in what you are saying and offering. While it takes time to build a following, those who become friends, fans, and followers of your company will be interested in what you are saying and offering – and more likely to remain loyal and long term supporters.
The good news is the right business technology enables you to easily take advantage of the online world without spending hours each day surfing social sites and engaging in conversations. Many newer Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications have built-in functionality to monitor social media for you, streaming all comments and feedback into your system; where you can view them in one place, match comments to your customers, and work to rectify any issues before they can do damage.
What’s more, many website platforms can have blogs directly linked to post to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, and others. This enables you to post something once and have it update throughout all of our social media outlets simultaneously.
If you would like more information on the types of software technology that supports your social business goals, please contact us today. We would be happy to discuss your specific requirements.