Social media can be a good marketing tool for small businesses and non-profit organisations. Sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can all help spread the word of the organisation. However, it can be a long time before any of these organisations can begin to see rewards from using social media. Only once they have created a trusting towards them, can the consequences be seen and more customers will choose the organisation. However, many small businesses and non-profits simply cannot afford the time or resources it takes into updating a blog or twitter account regularly. Small businesses and non-profits tend to use sites that do not need to be constantly updated, such as LinkedIn. LinkedIn is cheap, easy to use and can store information about an organisation, and sometimes its leaders, to anyone who wants to see.
Small Businesses vs. large Businesses
It is a lot harder to have a good social media presence for small businesses than it is for large businesses. While most small businesses are focused on just staying afloat, large businesses usually have the time and money to focus on hiring people that know how to use social media and can create a great social media presence for the organisation. IF a small business even decides to join social media in the first place, they have to focus on spreading the word of their company, what they offer, and begin creating trust between them and consumers.
Mobile Marketing & Mobile Social Media
Mobile marketing applications are those which people can constantly be connected to when using a personal mobile device.
“[Mobile social media is] a group of mobile marketing applications that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.”
Mobile social media is different from ‘traditional’ social media. Firstly, most mobile social media comes at little or no cost to the organisation. Traditional social media isn’t made for people ‘on-the-go’. You can upload photos/posts while you are out and about but only now, with mobile social media, can you see exactly where someone is at a current moment of time. Applications such as Instagram, Facebook and now Snapchat allow you to check-in to different places, or tag the place that you are at.
For marketing purposes, mobile social media can be useful in creating viral marketing phenomena. It involves both company to customer communication and user-generated content. Apps such as Foursquare can help a business become recognised in the mobile social media world. This app allows people to check-in to various places and then rate and leave a comment about the place for all to see. There are multiple rewards schemes on the app, from business having special deals for Foursquare customers to getting free stuff after checking into a place a certain amount of times. Below is a screenshot of Foursquare, where you can put in key words and results of different places around you appear.
The Risks of All of This
Though social media can be great for businesses, there are also risks involved. Security, reputation and trust all can cause problems for any organisation.
Social media is great as it lets businesses directly communicate with customers, and for customers to voice their opinions publicly. But this can also be a bad thing – if a customer expresses their dissatisfaction. It can be hard for a business to find ways to control this before many other customers read and share the information that they have seen. Social media networks therefore have to be monitored carefully, so if somebody lays a complaint, it can be quickly dealt with. Andrew Taylor, of Wellington, caused quite a commotion when last year he found a wasp in his chocolate bar. This wife took to the Whittaker’s Facebook page, where news spread quickly.
This caused a shut down in the production of these chocolates to find how it could have happened. Many businesses deal with this kind of situation by offering free goods, monetary compensation, or both, before customers lose trust and stop buying from them.
Security can also be an issue also. Viruses, spyware and hacking can all cause confidential company information to be leaked to the public. Businesses need to have decent IT security systems to protect any classified information.