Social media isn’t just for teenagers, news organizations and celebrities. In fact, it’s becoming the undergirding force behind our culture’s communication style. Businesses that don’t tap its potential risk getting left behind. In truth, social media is an influential tool in the digital age, one that you can’t ignore anymore.
Here’s what we know about social media
Even though social media is a relatively new tool, we already know a lot about how to effectively use it. For example, we know that:
- When friends or peers “like” or share a post, it influences buyer’s decisions, helping to spur a purchase.
- Social media helps companies succeed because of the platform’s ability to engage prospective customers and existing ones.
We now have further proof of social’s influence in the buying process, as it’s shown that it’s more than a one-hit sensation. A study by experts at MIT’s Sloan School of Management shows the power of persuasion on buyers when social is involved.
Social media casts a wide net of influence
The MIT study monitored, in part, how social media posts about specific television shows impacted the viewers. As a result of the posts, viewership of the shows increased by 77 percent. When influential users reposted the posts about the shows, viewership rose again, by a third. Namely, the study revealed that platforms like Weibo and Twitter have an immense “capacity to organize people in a way that they engage, with short-burst thoughts that reflect how we consume information today.”
The report reveals the significant power that social has on buyers. The study’s authors also encourage consumers and businesses to consider its impact. It not only has a huge potential to drive sales, but it can also set agendas, with its ability to release up-to-the-minute news and drive continuous information cycles. As such, these stories and agendas can form the foundation for larger news and brand stories and engage audiences.
How to harness the power of social selling
How can the average business take advantage of the influence that social platforms have on buying decisions? With Twitter’s low cost, reduced barriers to entry, and equal opportunity platform, it’s a logical choice on which businesses can begin their social selling strategy. The study advises businesses to:
- Create a plan to tweet with your community regularly. Today’s audiences are tolerant of brand postings, and they don’t view them as advertising. In short, they embrace brand posts.
- Take advantage of influencers in your industry. This doesn’t mean you need to follow celebrities. Connect with the equivalent of your industry’s celebrities, or those people that have great influence in your niche.
- Use short and clear messages with links where possible. Don’t fall under the false thinking that social posts must be funny, elaborate or engaging. The best posts are clear, concise and straightforward.
Don’t let new, shiny marketing tools intimidate you. Open your business’ Twitter account, start engaging your audience, and let the power of social selling do the work.