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Unless you live under a rock, you know that social media is a powerful force. Reconnecting with your friends from high school is just one small component of the capability of social media. The sheer number of individuals and businesses that are connected through social media either directly or tangentially is seemingly infinite.

Many years ago, local businesses survived entirely on the word of mouth of their customers. The information shared between people could make or break a company. Today, information sharing is just as important—except now it is done

Making the World Smaller…One Click At a Time

For years, we have quipped that the world is getting smaller because of connectivity. However, the phenomenon of social media has made the world smaller than ever…

For example, picture this: An unexpected natural disaster occurs in Australia and a young man happens to record the event on his iPhone. He then sends it to a news network, but not before posting it to his Facebook account.

Within minutes, his post is shared thousands of times and has traveled across the oceans. The news network also posts the recording to its social media page. It is then shared, posted, and reposted, eventually going “viral” and reaching millions.

What other phenomenon can accomplish such a feat?

And for businesses of all shapes, sizes, colors, and even industries, the questions become:

How can we harness that power so that our brand reaches millions of potential customers?

How do we convert those potential customers into existing customers?

Quantifying Quality

Social media marketers and experts acknowledge that quantifying the value of social media content past the very first post is quite difficult. When a brand posts content to its social media page that has 10,000 followers or it pays for a social media advertisement, the “first generation of engagement” is easily quantifiable.

This means the brand can determine how the level of “engagement” of a piece of content, such as how many people liked the post, shared the post, clicked on the post, and so on…

In fact, this first-generation engagement is the reason why marketing departments first justified creating and actively maintaining a social media presence in the first place. When done correctly, social media content can be an effective method of lead generation.

And, when social media is strategically used by a company over time, it can become the most powerful form of marketing out there—hands down. It also provides companies with an unprecedented ability to conduct market research to see what is working, and just as importantly, what is not working.

Claim to Fame…or Chaos

Social media gives brands an enormous, inexpensive, and effective way to grow their recognition and build trust. But…just as social media can catapult a company to “fame”, it can also bring a company to its knees by quickly and efficiently exposing a lousy product, terrible customer service, and/or poor or unethical business practices.

The power of social media is so vast because it is an enormous, widespread, connected network. At the same time, it is a small, intimate network between friends and people who trust one another.

Friends sharing their experiences with a firm or business (good or bad) on Facebook, Twitter, and even in text messages and emails is the modern way to convey and share information.

The “Network Sprawl”

Since the crux of social media networks is the people who actually make up the network, their opinions and recommendations matter. Those recommendations connect to friends, which pass to other connections, and so on and so on.

This creates a powerful “network sprawl”. Therefore, social media’s impact on a brand goes well beyond what it posts on its own social media page or a paid advertisement.

When brands are able to understand how content naturally spreads through social media networks, and embrace social media, only then can they begin to re-focus and fine tune their marketing efforts to reach their target audience and potential customers.

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