Jan 11, 2011

Why Should an Organization use Social Media?

If you want a business to start using social media, be prepared to answer this question. Even if your boss is behind it (or you are the boss), people in your organization may still be skeptical of the benefits. There are many answers to this question, but every situation and organization is different. Here are a couple of reasons I’ve given in the past:

1. Stay ahead of your Competitors

Imagine 5 years ago if you’re company didn’t have a website. You would be at a significant disadvantage to all your competitors that did have a website. Now imagine if your company had a website 15 years ago. It wasn’t vital for businesses to be on the web in 1995, but if you were, you were ahead of the curve. As the internet evolved, you were able to evolve with it. Your business had already taken its first digital steps, so by the 2000s, when your competitors were just starting to walk, you were running on the web. Most businesses are in those first step stages still with social media, so if you don’t get on now, you’re going to be walking while everyone else is running. Then when the next big thing in marketing comes around, your competitors will be able to start using that while you’re still figuring out social media.

2. Stay ahead of your Customers

Over the holidays my uncle, who’s an old school marketing guy, told me he thought social media was a great tool for communicating with customers, but didn’t think it benefited a company’s bottom line much. Today, he’s probably not far off. There’s probably a very small percentage of people who use Twitter/Facebook as a primary decision making tool. That percentage will grow, and will grow quickly. A few years from now there’s no telling just how extensively consumers will use social media, and how much they will expect from companies on social media. If you can’t meet the social media savvy consumers’ expectations and needs, they’ll find someone else who can. There’s business to be had right now on social media, and that’s only going to grow.

3. Social Search

Social media can help your SEO (search engine optimization) right now, and all signs point to it being crucial in coming years. Search engines already factor Facebook and Twitter conversations into SERPs. In the future, people may start using Facebook and Twitter as their primary search engines over Google (or at least cut into Google’s share of searches). Just like if you don’t have a website, you won’t show up in Google, if you don’t have a social media presence, you probably won’t show up in social searches.

These are just a couple of reasons every business should start using social media (or maybe take their current efforts more seriously). Social media is still in its infancy. Businesses and consumers will most definitely continue to find more uses for it, giving you more reasons to be on it every day.

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