Editor's note: Matthew Salim is an MBA student at Wayne State's School of Business in Detroit, MI and has taken ISM 7505: Inbound Information Technology.
In today's business world, if you are not on the Internet then you don’t exist. The number of users on the Internet has increased exponentially since the new millennium -- especially users of social media. With billions of active users on social media, organizations have had to tailor their competitive strategies in order to sustain viability in today’s economy. Some organizations have been more successful with their online presence then others in terms of maintaining consistency and relevancy. This means that Social Media challenges are apparent and many organizations today must re-strategize and refocus their efforts to ensure success in today’s global economy.
Let's begin looking at several of the top social media challenges organizations face today.
1. Lack of Manpower
Many organizations struggle with social media just because they don’t have the capital or resources necessary to keep up with the demanding world that is social media. Social media requires organizations to ideally respond in real time and with relevancy. Today organizations need to respond to their customers/consumers in a timely fashion. Staying on top of what others are saying about you or your brand can make or break organizations. Lack of resources/manpower can make this a much more difficult task to complete. The objective for organizations now is to become proactive rather than reactive. Organizations must assign at least one person the task of monitoring all of their social media accounts. This way the organization’s online presence will be dominant and consumers comments and concerns can be address directly, appropriately, and most importantly in a timely fashion. With that being said, organizations must realize that they need to have a strong and dominant online presence in order to thrive in today's economy.
2. Marketing Plan
A long time ago there was a film company called Kodak. They were the leader in the film industry and were showing no signs of slowing down. In 1975, they invented the first digital camera. However they chose to reinvest revenues into film rather build on the digital technology that it had created. Long story short, others companies like Canon thrived in the early 2000’s as the market for digital cameras grew making film obsolete. How does this relate to what we are talking about? Well many organizations need to get with the times or they might end up like Kodak, nonexistent! Sure traditional marketing has worked in the past, but companies must realize that social media and inbound marketing are the new ways to stay relevant and gain business. Organizations need to conduct an audit on their social media presence to identify their areas of strength and also their areas of opportunity. As they find some areas of opportunities, the implementation of SMART goals is ideal to help the organization reach its desired targets in terms of business objects/goals. This will allow organizations to stay in the game for much longer and keep them from becoming another Kodak.
3. Lead Generation Dilemma
In the past, paying for leads was seen as the norm in traditional marketing. However, in today’s organizations and the transition to inbound information technology the focus is more on generating an organic lead database. Which is better? Well short term paying for your leads will provide you with a database to begin working on and attempting to convert those purchased leads into customers. Long term, if you use tools like SEO and have a dominant social media presence you can also build a database of leads. These leads usually have a higher conversion rate due to that fact that these leads found you. Although organizations still purchase leads, the benefit of moving more towards a organic lead data base becomes less costly down the road for companies and reduce their reliance on having to purchase leads as their organic leads become the main source of their lead generation. Although both strategies are used today to gain customers, organic searches should be the main focus for companies as the use of social media and the Internet continue to grow. It also becomes cost effective down the road freeing up funds to invest in other areas of the business making it stronger as a whole.
4. Adding Value
It’s all about creating content. When you create content you must give the consumer something that they need. Many organizations today create something and try to market it, rather than focus on consumer’s needs and working on creating something that will satisfy those needs. This means that if you have a website, you need calls to action. This way you can provide the client with information that will be useful to them as well as collect important information about the lead to follow up and have an opportunity to convert them into a potential customer. When you add value it’s not seen as a transaction, it’s seen as adding value both emotionally and economically. Creating content that is relevant, adds values, and is less seen as transactional will help organizations become more effective in using social media to grow their business. The consumer defines brands so make sure that you are providing them with value. As a result your brand will be better off.
5. Going Mobile
The mobile market is one of the fastest growing markets today. What does that mean for organizations? That means they must tailor/format their online presence. They must work on cascading style sheets that allow easy access to their website as well as look aesthetically pleasing. Easier said then done. What organizations must do is find folks with expertise that will help them set up for success. Having a website that you can access from a laptop or desktop is only half the battle. Over 70% of emails are viewed on a mobile device, which means that as an organization you must be at the consumer’s disposal. That means being accessible on all viewing devices including the mobile phone. The mobile market is only forecasted to get larger, that means as an organization you must take advantage of the additional avenue of exposure that a business needs today to be successful. Mobile is only one of the tools to help your business become more accessible and as a result will increase your chances of generating and converting leads.
- Internet Users by year. http://www.internetlivestats.com/internet-users/#trend
- Social Media Users by year. http://www.statista.com/statistics/278414/number-of-worldwide-social-network-users/
- Kodak. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastman_Kodak
- Traditional Marketing Tactics Do Not Work. http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/adjust-traditional-marketing-tactics-millennials-var
- Mobile Market. http://venturebeat.com/2015/02/20/mobile-growth-is-huge-and-could-surge-at-least-3x-in-the-next-two-years/
- Perspective on Mobile. http://searchengineland.com/mobile-search-need-perspective-222386