Before the digital age, companies relied on mass media to reach their target demographic. Television, radio, and print advertising consumed the bulk of marketing budgets aiming to deliver branding messages to a desired group of recipients. While successful during its time, traditional methods customer relations only ran one way, permitting companies to broadcast their messages, but preventing any means of hearing back from customers.
With the internet boom, client communications have changed dramatically. Corporate websites allow customers to view first-hand information about company products and policies, while permitting the option to contact company personnel directly. Corporate social media marketing through platforms like Facebook and Twitter has closed the gap, allowing real-time conversation to continue between customers and company representatives. This immediate response system has broken the one-way barrier, improving the way customers are able to provide feedback, express concerns, and communicate with the company, especially for companies in the service industry.
Obtaining Maximum Reach
To get the most out of internet marketing, companies must invest in creating a presence in the most expansive databases online. With over a billion active users every month, Facebook is undoubtedly the largest social networking platform today. Unlike its rival MySpace, Facebook has been able to sustain a steadily growing membership for a longer period of time and is projected to continue being the leading social networking platform for at least another five years. For a share of the pie, companies, brands, and prominent individuals would benefit from having a Facebook fan page.
Maintaining the Public Image
Obtaining your share of cyberspace is not even half the battle. After building, populating, and promoting their Facebook page, companies must maintain an image consistent with their brand. Unlike real life p.r., online reputation management requires more than the gift of gab. Because the internet is highly volatile, a single, negative post can go viral just as easily as a positive message can. Maintaining a positive or neutral reputation is a matter of putting out a consistent message. Once the post is on Facebook, members who subscribe to your company page will do the marketing for you – if it is engaging enough – by sharing, reposting, and commenting on it for their networks to see.
Facebook has afforded businesses with an attractive, inexpensive opportunity to participate in social media. The tools are there; one just has to know how to wield them to his or her advantage.