Rethinking the True Power of Social Media

There's no doubting that Social Media is powerful. But what is it's true power?

Imagine walking into your local shopping centre with 100 leaflets to promote your business and seeing 1000 people. You may suddenly feel a sense of dread that you are missing out on opportunities to gain business by not managing to get a leaflet to everyone.

Now imagine the same scenario, but above the head of each individual in the shopping centre is a sign telling you that they have the potential to be interested in your business. Suddenly the task of handing out leaflets becomes less daunting and more efficient. With your new powers, you wouldn’t stand in the shopping centre watching those you know are interested in your business pass you by. Yet many businesses are doing just this with their social media accounts.

When looking at competitors, the first things people seem to compare are the numbers of followers their social media pages have – equating volume of followers with a successful social media strategy. But just having followers is less than half the battle.

The truth is just having followers has little value. Your followers are most useful when they are on your website or calling you to buy things. Hence why your social media strategy should take your users away from social media, to your business, and then take them back to social media for retention purposes.

At any point, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn could change their terms and conditions rendering your large database of likes, followers or connections far less useful than they once were. The primary function of your social media strategy should always focus on moving your followers to somewhere where you have more control, such as an email or mailing list.

Thinking this way will help you build an effective understanding of what social media truly is. It is not the final step in your users journey, it is just one of the many steps along the way.