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Social Value: Judging the Value of Social Media for More Established Industries

Many companies in mature industries have found themselves constantly asking one simple question: What’s the point of social media?

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It’s hard to underestimate the impact that social media has had on the world of business.

From curry houses to house painters, it seems like everyone (including their dogs) has a social media presence of some kind. From highly-active Facebook profiles with hundreds of fans to a Twitter account ghost-town with merely one or two tweets a month.

In any case, it is  clear that social media is here to stay. But whilst it may come naturally for a clothes designer or skateboard manufacturer, judging the value of social media can be tricky for those in more established industries.

For example, many companies in mature industries (e.g. financial services, automotive, petroleum, and tobacco) have found themselves constantly asking one simple question: What’s the point of social media?

Benefits of Social Media Engagement

If you operate in a mature industry where there is an established pattern of market share, earnings, and profits social media doesn’t appear to be worthwhile. However, before you toss out social media, first try to weigh the pros and cons of going social. There is a good chance that one or more of your clients has asked the same question already.

Beyond the more obvious uses for social media (e.g. customer service), why should you invest your time into sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and even Instagram?

Here are some reasons which instantly jump to mind: increased customer engagement, boosted brand recognition, etc. All of these factors are important and can cumulatively lead to an increase in your company’s core metrics.

In fact, social media is one proven way to innovate in a mature industry. If you find yourself looking at your company — and industry — wondering if true innovation can really take shape, start with social. Social media can not only drive online engagement it can also influence offline behavior.

But if you’re not completely sold you may still be asking — can social media offer any measurable benefit? The answer to this one, it seems, may be completely subjective.

There are plenty of inevitable benefits from conducting social media activities. For example, social media offers a great way to connect with influencers in your space. Start first by identifying them and then figure out what content they want and respond to — this can lead to promotion of your content and your services well beyond your own network.

For example, a recent study “names Facebook and LinkedIn as the top platforms for driving direct contact or in-person meetings. After a social interaction on Facebook, 70% of the survey participants said they contacted someone offline, compared with 55% for LinkedIn; 37%, Twitter; 25%, Google+; and about 8% for Pinterest.”

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