How are businesses using social media to help grow their companies?

Businesses are using several methods to help grow companies and improve sales. There are a growing number of online communities, and these communities allow consumers to exchange information about products or services, and to compare prices among competitors. Social networking also provides a way to introduce new products and services to customers while gathering real-time feedback. One example would be Ford Motor Co. It launched its 2011 Explorer crossover vehicle on Facebook, and it achieved higher levels of customer interest than an alternative Super Bowl commercial for significantly less money. Other campaigns take advantage of the immediacy of social media to create a sense of urgency regarding special sales and promotions. Airlines like JetBlue and United are a prime example, using Twitter to promote last-minute flight deals.


Why is social media important for business?

Social media creates opportunities for companies to gather information and feedback they wouldn’t ordinarily have access to. Web sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, when monitored, allow companies to get unfiltered, uncensored feedback about all aspects of their business, whether it be the product, advertising, etc. This is why many businesses are monitoring these social media sites — it gives them more accurate feedback than focus groups and surveys. Social media also opens up ways to conduct market research more quickly and cheaply. Using sites such as Twitter allows companies to engage in a real-time dialogue with a wide range of customers, which would have taken much longer in a setting such as a focus group. Electronics retailer Best Buy, for instance, engages in about 5,000 customer dialogues per week through online forums, and has more than 1.3 million followers on Facebook. This direct interaction is extremely beneficial when it comes to gathering valuable input on what consumers like and don’t like about them.


What are the advantages of using each social media tool (Twitter,
Facebook and LinkedIn) for business?

These social media tools are often very effective, and are much less expensive than commercials.

Facebook: Allows business pages, which allows consumers to comment back and forth on commercials which may be posted on the page, new products/services.

Twitter: More fast-paced, allows companies to make status updates, with which they may release large messages or statements. This is ideal for any company who ever has a sale or large upcoming event, as it provides a quick reminder to millions of users, who may then use a retweet feature to alert friends/family/colleagues who may not already know.

LinkedIn: Social networking site especially for professional use. It is extremely helpful in connecting employers with candidates. Companies can list jobs and search for potential employees, users can follow different companies and can get notifications about new offers available, Job seekers can use the connections feature to assess possible contacts who can introduce them to hiring managers.