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How social media can help businesses

by Lesotho Times

SOCIAL media is a new method of sharing information instantly on the internet. Social media websites create a forum through which people and organisations have the platform to write about what they want, share pictures and relate to each other.
It is a social forum characterised by giving and taking of information affordably. Social media makes up the global intranet within the internet.
The best well-known social media sites today are Twitter and Facebook but more are sprouting  and the webscape is continuously changing.
Some organisations have turned their own websites into mini social media for people who are members and followers of that particular concern.
This is internal social media where people who share that particular interest meet, discuss, share information and socialise.
Many businesses in Lesotho are yet to fully engage and leverage social media.
The truth is that their current customers and potential customers are spending more of their time in these forums more than they are reading newspapers or listening to the radio.
The key to a good web marketing strategy is to keep your customers engaged in your brand and tap into untapped markets at a very low cost.
An organisation can utilise all three methods of social media to be in touch with current and prospective customers.
It is hard work to be putting out constant information on these social media sites, but that is the price you have to pay to keep in touch with modern computer savvy youth.
It is a price you have to pay to attract and retain customers in a world characterised by lots of distractions.
Let us go though the three main social media sites that can be used by organisations as part of their business model.
Twitter allows you 140 characters per posting. Your customers can follow you on this medium whereby you will keep them updated on the latest happenings in the organisation.
Twitter has made information sharing extremely simple.
All an organisation has to do is to start their own twitter account and get as many people as possible to follow them.
You may then release those nuggets of information that would ordinarily only be released with a time lag from news organisations.
Release them before they leak and you have a great following and this will galvanise your customer base.
This is the biggest social media site. An organisation can open an account on Facebook and start posting information there.
It is a good place to post pictures as well, announce information about the latest products or stores being opened.
Facebook allows any number  of “friends” that you want to have and an organisation can use this forum to get new customers as well as to keep in touch with old ones.
Your friends/customers on Facebook can share information about the organisation easily and they will act as evangelists on your behalf.
Facebook was built to ease sharing and making new friends easily. It is also very good for writing blogs that easily reach thousands of your fans very affordably. It is a place that most youth and old people alike are hanging out.
This is a forum primarily used for sharing videos. Messages from the marketing team or the MD can be posted here to keep customers in the loop with current events at the organisation. The whole idea is to engage current customers and to get new ones.
If you keep aloof the customers reciprocate in the same spirit. They do not buy your merchandise or products because they become disengaged with your organisation and its offerings.
Social media is where everyone is talking to each other and sharing all sorts of information.
This is where organisations can strategically position themselves to be part of the conversation.
Social media has a reach beyond the local community and very affordably so.
The most interesting thing about social media is that whereas it would cost you a bundle to write letters and or put out a newsletter, with social media all you have to invest is your time and energy to put out great content.
Social media has made relating to consumers very affordable especially the youth who are often the majority in many societies.
Modern society is always on the move. Business has to be on the move with the mobile society through mobile communication. If you wait for them to settle, you lose.
Some other savvy marketer will be on the move with the consumers and will win them over.
Remember you have to relate to people the way they want to be related to.
Some will love mobile devices others will not.
You have to be flexible. Modern marketing is a full-time process involving a multiplicity of channels.
A winning marketer keeps up with the demands. There is no short cut.
If you do not have the time for social media or don’t know how to make heads or tails of the social media scene it may be best for the organisation to hire out a consulting agency who will have both the time and expertise to craft a social media strategy for the business.

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