Every once in a while, something comes along that completely alters the world of business and commerce. Throughout the ages, advancement such as the factory, railroads, automobiles, radio, and computers have come along, and with them, came a dramatic shift in how business is done. Our age is no different. We are perhaps seeing one of the largest changes made to the business world. That great change is the internet.
Changing The Way We Do Business
The availability of the internet to nearly anyone that can obtain a computer has, within a short period of time, reshaped how we do business, with whom we do business, and who is able to do business.
Some may say that it’s almost as if the playing field has been leveled out. Now, because of the internet, anyone with the knowledge and willpower, can create products, market them, and create a customer base; all of which was not possible in the slightest degree before the Information Age.
While the internet has provided extraordinary opportunities for business-savvy individuals and long-standing companies, many other companies are ignoring the power of the internet and thus, paying dearly for their ignorance. These companies, who are seemingly stuck in the previous ways of doing things like advertising and promotions, are falling like dominoes, while the tech-savvy small businesses and entrepreneurs are passing them up in droves.
While some companies are sticking to the tried-and-true marketing strategies of the past, such as placing ads in the local newspaper or radio, their competitors are launching viral marketing campaigns, allowing them to connect with infinitely more people.
A Helping Hand For Small Businesses
The emergence of online marketing and in particular, social media, gives smaller operations the ability to connect with countless potential customers from all over the world. This plays into the hands of the small business owner most of all. Small businesses are now able to market directly to potential clients. Combine the potential of such a reach with diligently collected market/product data, and the marketing power available dwarfs what was previously available in the world of newspaper and radio ads.
As of 2018, there are over 2.5 billion people worldwide using social media. For some perspective, in 1950 the world population was approximately 2.5 billion. Through social media, we are now able to connect with and market to literally billions of people. This kind of reach was unfathomable to past generations, and even now, we are struggling to grasp its implications.
To put a face on this situation, we’ll look at the hypothetical situation of our imaginary small business; Ralph’s Rare Finds. Ralph’s Rare Finds is an imaginary local business located on Main Street, middle-America, specializing in rare Americana antiques, including coins, and other collectible items. Before online marketing, the only people Ralph’s Rare Finds could reach were the people that walked by the shop, the current customers, and potential new customers brought in by word of mouth.
After educating themselves in the ways of online marketing, and even hiring some experts in the field, the operators of Ralph’s Rare Finds embarked on a social media campaign, aimed at showcasing their antique coins. They advertised on all of the major social media outlets and included e-commerce links on these pages.
The potential customers could browse the company’s product listing, read information about each product, and order the product to their doorstep, all without leaving their social media platform. In a short period of time, Ralph’s Rare Finds went from just another struggling shop on Main Street to a well-known name among antique coin enthusiasts, bringing in seven-figure earnings every year.
All of this would not be possible without the power of online marketing and social media.
The Power Of Social Media Marketing
With such a large user base, the popular social media platforms are now seen as essential in the marketing world. In just a few short years, it has changed the face of marketing around the world.
Social media allows businesses to constantly update their potential clients/customers, on a regular basis. This keeps the business relevant, and always in the mind of the consumer. The only limits of this power are the imagination of the companies and entrepreneurs utilizing it.
How social media will continue to evolve is hard to say, but as it grows, it is certain that it will open more doors for businesses willing to use it.
Christopher is an author and digital marketing expert specializing in social media marketing and website optimization while working with Final Touch Commercial Cleaning company in Tulsa, Oklahoma