Speed and reach of social media makes it both a challenge and opportunity

Social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have been accepted as highly effective means of reaching out to consumers. Businesses and advertisers are understandably keen to leverage their power. It is now widely agreed that the all-encompassing Web and social networking channels have provided small businesses with the much needed support and a virtually equal footing to compete against their bigger counterparts. The stakes are now even in the respective industry domains.

The fact is: Not all of the conventional marketing ideas are proving as effective as they once were owing to the changed dynamics of new-age communication. Let me elaborate a bit on this aspect…

The multiplier effect on social media

In this age of complex and multi-channel communication, your audience is unfathomable. You cannot easily quantify and define who and where they are based, something beyond realms of imagination in the past. The relative unknown nature of the multiplier effect of that phenomenon means that corporate advertisers and other communication strategists need to be on their guard.

People in charge of your company’s marketing often forget when they mention in a blog, put on Twitter, update on a Facebook page. But it’s all out there at warp speed. If you do not account for its undesired impact, the backlash can be rather severe. There is another risk that you need to be account for while dealing with social media.

Risks and challenges

  • One probable risk emanates from many users who are vying to be first with what they think clever comments on any new development, story and other topics their colleagues, friends and family members care about.
  • One needs to think before speaking up, and before tweeting. This applies everyone associated with a company – from a junior employee to a senior manager, who must exhibit a sense of responsibility.
  • Savvy corporate advertisers know its implications. Another obvious challenge is its ‘amplified effect. You post something innocuous on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook and it can be circulated amidst a potentially vast audience. You put up a remark or comment on Twitter, and it may be retweeted literally thousands of times. This can work both ways depending on your deft handling of the medium.

How to make your marketing mix?

Of course, the rising influence of social media doesn’t really mean you need to go for a complete overhaul in your marketing policy. Ideally, it should be a proper blend of the new and the old – the social media (blogs, forums, review sites, networking sites) and traditional channels (print media). The two can seamlessly work or made to work in tandem.

To conclude, emergence of social media, its enormous reach and speed makes it both a challenge and opportunity depending on the way to handle it for the benefit of your brand.