Last week was pretty exciting for me. Apart from the Nigerian Presidential elections, I started the week by traveling to the University Ilorin to speak to a set final year students on the topic “Set to do Exploits”. I literally saw the spark in the eyes of the students as I challenged them and explored the possibilities that technology has afforded them to be all that they were meant to be. I dismantled the misconception that their age, school, type of university or class of degree will confer an advantage to them – it may still be true in Nigeria for a while.
The rules to become relevant are not only changing for fresh graduates, it is also causing a significant shift in the way people do business. Social Media is affecting businesses and helping businesses reach their customers directly and cheaper. It doesn’t matter if you are a large business organization or entrepreneur, social media platform has significantly redefined some businesses. Here are some examples;
1. Product Awareness
As customers and consumers continue to spend more time on the internet, digital advertising is becoming very relevant. The attitude and lifestyle of the consumers is what should dictate the platforms and not the other way around. Huge budgets allocated to product launches can now be reduced to achieve a significantly close success in creating product awareness. Entrepreneurs can also leverage on these social media sites to market their products and services, announce new arrivals and generate hype for their work.
Cheaper and effective, or why spend huge advertising money on TV when most of my target audience is in traffic.
2. Generating Leads
If you are not generating leads, your business is not growing. Generating leads open up your business to avenues to grow your customer base, explore new opportunities and to attract more prospects. Since your customers are busy discussing brands in Social Media, seeking opinions of others in making buying decisions, you need to be paying attention and converting leads into profit.
In building your professional career and business, networking is key. Social media affords you the opportunity to reach people that the front desk receptionist will never have allowed you to reach. Social Media is still an emerging field and a lot of business professionals are personally managing their portals. Discussions about events and networking opportunities are also going on and it is important that you don’t stay missing.
4. Reputation Management/Public Relations
Whether your boss is a social media cynic or not, conversations are going on about your business and you need to be paying attention or your business might be committing latent suicide. I had previously written about what to do when social media attacks your brand and explained how people are influencing others through social media. It is important you consider what you happen if a customer you treated badly goes online to shout about it.
Online reputation and Public relation tools abound online and has continued to deepen the practice of Public Relations in Nigeria.
5. Customer Service/ Educate
Especially for products that need lots of education and information for the consumer, social media affords an almost cost –free avenue to maximize the use of the product/service, social media provides a huge platform to accomplish this objective.
6. Building Brand Communities
Nothing is more attractive to a brand/social media manager that the opportunity to build a community of people who are loyal to your cause/business/brand. While former president Ibrahim Babangida spent millions to to launch his presidential campaign bid, president Jonathan merely got behind a laptop ( got someone to do it?) and announced his own bid without setting up huge equipment characteristic of political campaign kick-offs in Nigeria.
If money is to be made in email list-building, building a fan page on your Facebook can yield huge returns.
7. Thought Leadership
Especially for people in the B2B industry, (i.e. Businesses which serve other businesses) social media affords the fastest way to become brand leaders in their various fields. Social media platforms have allowed easy distribution and cost-free avenues to establish your business in your field.
Ok, over to you, what does social media do for your business?