Social media is an extremely powerful brand-building tool that engages consumers, but it can also be a platform for strong business relationships and revenue generation, an expert says.
Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube have all gained enormous ground over the last few years and a communications expert has said industry must get involved.
“Social media can be a fantastic, low-cost and effective way of communicating with people,” said Adrian Moss, director of Focus Business Communications.
Speaking to attendees of a workshop session at Snackex 2013, Moss said presence on social media not only presents great marketing opportunities but it could also generate revenues too.
“Through social networks, we can generate business. Maybe not direct sales, but though a friend of a friend.”
“Even B2B people talk. Social media is not just a consumer brand tool – it’s a powerful B2B tool too,” he said.
Marketing has new opportunities
AC Nielsen analyst Knut Gartland agreed that social media presents fantastic opportunities for industry, particularly in light of mounting competition from other brands and private label.
“Part of the new world is story-telling. With new media channels, the story-telling is everything,” Gartland said.
Smartphones and the rise of social media have of course created new opportunities for consumers, but also new marketing opportunities too, he said.
“Consumers who shout out their opinion on social media and discussion groups – these consumers can be heard on what they think about products and the brand. It’s important to note that consumers love their brands; they will defend their brands,” he said.
Moss agreed: “People out there have an opinion and social media allows them to express their opinion and they can influence their friends.”
“Facebook for example has around one billion people on it. If your message gets out, how much would you have to pay for the same on TV?” he added.
Both Gartland and Moss said that industry needs to work hard to engage these consumers to like, share and talk about their products or brand online.
Size doesn't matter...
“It’s not just B2C [business-to-consumer] and big organizations like PepsiCo and Kellogg that social media is useful to, but it can be smaller companies too. Social media is giving small companies a chance to promote brands and messages to a global audience at almost no cost,” Moss said.
“You don’t have to be a mainstream brand.”