The marketplace is no longer dominated by large manufacturers with extensive marketing budgets. Because of the internet, and particularly because of social networking, small and medium-sized manufacturers now have the ability to reach the same audiences as their larger competitors. For instance, organizations that are active on Facebook have the potential to reach at least 70 million potential customers. That’s a lot more consumers than any small or medium-sized organization could have reached prior to the advent of social media. Thanks to social networking, every firm can compete for the attention of the same large audience, giving small and medium-sized businesses the leg up they need to survive in today’s economy.
Some organizations might be confused about how tools like social media relate to ecommerce. In short, social media is the mechanism that engages customers in such a manner that they take one of the following actions:
- They interact with your organization personally, such as by purchasing one of your products, signing up to receive your newsletter, or entering one of your contests; or,
- They tell their friends about their interactions with you, generating positive word of mouth around your product and creating stronger brand awareness among customers’ peers.
Once individuals hear about the positive experiences you are creating for your customers, they will be more likely to try your products in the future.
Many organizations that establish social networking accounts are tempted to simply promote their products via their social networking pages; however, organizations that are most successful in their social media efforts typically engage their customers in other manners, as well. Examples include:
- Distributing exclusive product updates or coupons.
- Conducting contests and/or giving away prizes via their social networking sites.
- Announcing new products or company news.
- Surveying customers, asking for their input and opinions.
All of these efforts have one trait in common: they are all focused on engaging the customer in a meaningful manner.
Regardless of how your company decides to use social networks, one fact remains the same: as a small or medium-sized manufacturer, you now have the power to compete with your largest competitors on a level field.