In this piece, RAHEEMAH AROGUNDADE expounds the impact of social media on small, medium and large businesses
Social media came with the advent of information technology at the twilight of the 20th century. It has gradually morphed from what we know as ordinary messenger applications into a vast interconnected hub for enhancing various disciplines of which marketing is a significant part.
Much like wealth, social media has become the coin of the realm in this 21st century. This is evident in the words of Pierre Omidyar, “We have technology, finally, that for the first time in human history allows people to really maintain rich connections with much larger number of people.”
Social media for business growth
Small market economies and multinational companies have tapped into the many benefits social media offered their establishments. To a large extent, it is believed that social media has helped to build customer bases and aided the popularity of business.
“Social media affords me the opportunity to gain more customers and have a strong customer network. It also presents the opportunity to create awareness about my products and stay ahead of competition in the business,” Bolajoko Adigun, a retailer, told Africana Entrepreneur.
Edge above competition
The new media has especially boomed existing and emerging fields in technology. It has not only been a medium for the visibility of businesses but has succeeded in helping them up their traffic and reputation.
“Reaching out to our leads and fans on social media by educating them on the best digital marketing practices and introducing a few of our services to them has helped us gain more trust. Our methods have wormed us into the hearts of a lot of people and they, in turn, refer us to reputable clients,” explained founder of Virtual Core Creative, Olamide Alowooja.
It is no surprise that various businesses would rush to harness the power of this ‘magical’ media that has helped businesses ‘blow’.
Alowooja told Africana Entrepreneur, “Social media has really given us an edge over competition. We have been able to reach out to a lot of people far more than we envisaged and we have helped a lot of clients in the same way. The fun thing in our industry is that no one knows all, and we just have to keep learning and re-learning from the people above and below us.”
The healthcare industry is on a media rave as well. Much of today’s appointments, medical advices and tips as well as visual representation of the environment and equipment are posted and re-posted on social media.
Co-founder of Fastident Dental Clinic, Kazeem Dosunmu, explained that social media had not only increased the visibility of the clinic to a lot more people than they envisaged, but also created a strong customer network.
“Social media has made it possible for people who we did not believe could know about our business to find and patronise us. With the help of social media, we are not only able to tell people about our unique selling points, but we are also able to show them the state-of-the-art equipment we have to combat any of their dental challenges,” he said.
As attractive as social media marketing is, it still has some downsides, which can affect the client population negatively, if not properly checked. It can lead to eventual ‘pack up’, especially if the business is strictly online.
Alowooja explained, “It is not easy to please anyone. Stalling posting content for a long time makes people lose interest in a brand.”
However, Dosunmu lamented too much exposure of business secrets through the social media.
“To reach the desirable clients on social media is not easy. You find people who are only interested in knowing the cost of the services you are rendering, especially treatments that should involve consultation for proper assessment.
“When you do not give them satisfactory answers on the platform, considering how delicate health issues are, they tend to make negative comments about you to discourage prospective clients,” he said.
Resolution through professionalism
Knowing the effect of negative comments or reviews on a company’s reputation, marketers have to learn the essentials of human relations through social media. They have to know how to handle responses, which can be used for or against the business in the long run.
Dosunmu added, “In the case of negative comments, we try our best to address every one in a friendly and professional manner. Mostly, we do the talking by posting more of our positive reviews from our customers.”
It is evident that social media marketing, though enticing, is tedious and requires stringent methods, to sustain and raise the popularity and client base of a business. It requires time, effort and dedication to get people to single specific businesses out of the very many available options online. However, it behoves the business owner to understand and utilise the tenets of social media marketing to achieve desirable results.