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Social Media: The New PR

How a Company Can Stay Caught Up With Social Media

A couple hundred years ago, small family-owned businesses ruled the marketplace. As a society, we transitioned into large corporations growing as a result of advancing science and technology. Branding started to occur through traditional avenues of marketing. Since the dawn of .com, we've seen a transition back to the rise of small businesses with the internet opening up thousands of new opportunities for entrepreneurs. We now have more businesses, and more competition which can make it difficult for a small business to stand out among their rising level of competitors. Most recently, we're seeing a shift back to larger companies ruling over their more localized competitors in the same industry, or acquiring their smaller competitors and eating up the marketplace. Before, you used to go to a local boutique spa for a massage or a facial, now you have Massage Envy nationwide where you can find a whole staff of massage therapists and facialists where they can charge a lot less than their local competitors because they profit from a large, regular client base. Before, when you filed for divorce for got a traffic ticket, you'd call up your local attorney and pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to represent you. Now you have self-help legal services like Legal Zoom to help you file for divorce, or TicketKick to help you fight a speeding ticket, charging a low cost to help you with your legal process, and many times, offering a money back guarantee. The internet is changing trends constantly. People are bombarded on a daily basis of advertisements, emails, blogs, twitter updates, Facebook posts, articles about the newest and the greatest, and their perceptions of trends can change in a split second if the read something about a product or a company, or a good or bad review. So how can a small business stay afloat when it can be hard to even get a word in, edgewise? Social media is the new public relations. It's a community, a society, and certainly, the biggest marketplace on the earth. Whether a business owner has the goal of staying small but successful, or becoming a billion dollar company, they have to stay right in the heat of their industry's topics, and not get left behind. Social media interactions are a great way to find out what's being said, what topics are trending related to your industry, and what people want, not to mention free advertising (without sounding like advertising). Where there is demand on the internet for information, there is opportunity for supply. But nowadays, it's harder for people to decide on where to get this "supply" with all their different options. That's where branding comes into play, and why it's so important to market yourself over your competitors. People are tired of getting marketing emails. People make their decisions on companies based on their own research and consumer reviews. They want today's opinions from unbiased feedback, which is why a lot of people read yelp reviews, or comments on a company's Facebook page. You can tap into this to figure out exactly what's being said and what these people are looking for. You can also take advantage of opportunities to show your expertise on a subject and get your name out there by posting comments on articles and blogs, from an expert point of view, without sounding like an advertisement. If you put your company at the level of the consumer, you engage with them, and that is what social media is all about. You begin to brand yourself by tying your name to hot topics and you improve your SEO while doing it. Whatever new transitions business will take over the next decade, you can be sure that internet engagement will not slow down, and the quicker information gets transmitted, the faster a company who wants to rise above the rest, must respond to it.
Posted in Business
Sep 07th, 2011