Phase 3 Individual Project 2 – Week 3
EM820-1502C-01
Diane McGlothlin
Dr. Anne Marie Armstrong
Due 25 to 29 May 2015
 
WebLog URL: http://emdzyns.com/weblog---social-media-and-its-influence-on-the-economy
 
Social Media and the Small Business
This series of WebLogs covered how Social Media can be used to capitalize on the business image and communication channels available to the technologically savvy small or medium sized business owner. Some of the important points covered include finding the correct strategy to promote a business with social media. Many emerging media formats could also benefit a company such as virtual or augmented reality technology. Combined with the business acumen of the management, social media could bring more customers and engage them in a more profitable manner when used in association with a formal business strategy.
Using Social Media to Promote and Advertise
Social Media – Many people use Social Media for many activities during each day. The business owner can capitalize on this huge audience base to promote their own activities. Engaging the customer in a more casual and open manner appears to appeal to many consumers. Also, understanding the growing popularity of online shopping and buying and learning how to take advantage of this burgeoning customer base will enhance the ability of the business owner to reap the benefits of Social Media.
Join the Network!!
Social Media is rapidly becoming used by many people for more than just socializing. Shopping habits are changing and the online shopping experience becomes the subject of many commentaries. Businesses that realize the value of joining the network can capitalize on this trend.
Challenges
Challenges the business owner may face in the pursuit of Social Media advertising as a means to promote their image depend upon the technical acumen of the owner. Most sites have tutorials and even templates, advice, and technical support. Business websites can be linked to the various social media applications such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Many people love to use Twitter as it is so fast and easy. Advertising is a great revenue generator for many sites such as YouTube where ads pop up or automatically play on many of the videos. Posting business information or advertising for the business could be effective on any of these sites.
Opportunities
Social media is very popular and online sales and marketing are an expanding business in itself. The small to medium business owner can take advantage of social media for marketing and advertising in ways that were not available previously.  According to studies many businesses participate in using social media for sales and communication with customers. Understanding which social media sites to use for advertising and how to use the tools available is one of the main challenges that a small business owner faces with this technology. A bit of study reveals that most sites have excellent tutorials and tools on the site for businesses to create and publish their advertising ideas. Using social media for brand promotion promotes accessibility to the business as many customers who otherwise would not be aware of a company can be reached with this method. Considering the customer base as an audience base provides a new insight into ways to reach customers and keep their attention. Research results show that customers who follow a brand or business over social media may remain more loyal due to the social media interaction. Social media does allow the customer the opportunity to interact with the business in more ways than just visiting the store in person which creates more opportunities for the business to influence the customer. Another plus for social media advertising is that customers observe the “social proof” (DeMers, 2014) that other customers approve of a business and follow suit. This venue is becoming very popular and widespread. Interaction with customers on social media and the interaction between customers increase the chances that the business website will have increased traffic and possible sales opportunities. Some indication that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is beginning to incorporate social media ratings means that using social media for advertising and interaction with customers may almost be mandatory for businesses to become recognized and sought after.
Links to Tutorials and Tips
For a small to medium sized business owner, understanding how to incorporate Social Media into the business image and for advertising may seem like a daunting task. However, with a bit of research, even a non-technical business owner can take advantage of the advertising and marketing possibilities afforded by this phenomenon. Resources are available not only at the websites of the social media companies themselves, but many training and tutorial videos can be found on the Internet in general. Some links are included here. Tips, tutorials, white papers, and ebooks – all geared to help with online marketing strategy are included in these sites.
 
The Top 10 Benefits of Social Media Marketing by Jayson DeMers. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2014/08/11/the-top-10-benefits-of-social-media-marketing/2/.
 
Resources. Audience Bloom. http://www.audiencebloom.com/resources/.
 
5 Powerful Business Opportunities Driven by Social Media by Vee Terdrew. http://resources.struto.co.uk/blog/5-powerful-business-opportunities-driven-by-social-media.
 
Facebook Go Program – facebook.com. 30 Day Personal Help Program – Online Sales Solutions. www.facebook.com/business/go.
 
Conclusion
The future of marketing and advertising strategy seems to be combined with the power of online social media. Many businesses have already taken advantage of this symbiotic relationship. Consumers rely on the reputation of companies as represented over the social media wavelengths. Companies that have not realized the power of this media for communication with their customer base miss out on the opportunities available with this powerful tool. Small to medium sized business owners who take the time to research and learn how to use social media will almost certainly find that the effort is worthwhile and pays off in increased sales and customer satisfaction.
 
References
 
 
DeMers, Jayson. The top 10 benefits of social media marketing. 8 November 2014. Forbes Website: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2014/08/11/the-top-10-benefits-of-social-media-marketing/.
 
Image:  Social Media.  http://testenviro.gesaky.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/social-media1.jpg
 
Image: Top 5 Social Networking Countries, Ranked by Users, 2012. http://was-gb.wascdn.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/map-1.gif,