Social media is a powerful tool that can make or break your business. As I’m sure you’re aware, United Airlines recently learned this lesson the hard way. What this incident illustrated was the speed with which a brand’s reputation can be impacted. In the age of smart phones and social media, companies can no longer ignore incidents or sweep them under the rug.
But social media also has the power to build a company when properly employed. Take for instance Halo Top, a “healthy” ice cream. In a few short years, they have become the sixth best-selling packaged ice cream in the market, all without relying on traditional advertising. Instead they focus on word of mouth, Instagram posts from customers, and hyper-targeted Facebook ads. Their focus on social media even extends to their physical packaging which includes their preferred hashtag and social media pages. With a 2500% increase in sales in 2016, their approach seems to be working.
It’s not just official company accounts that make the difference when it comes to social media though. Entrepreneur uses Elon Musk as an example for why CEOs need to jump on the social media train. The leader becomes an extension of the brand and another point of contact for customers to engage with.
It is hard to imagine that the entwinement of social media and business will do anything but continue to grow. Entrepreneur argues that brands that can engage on these platforms will reap the rewards, and the recent social media success of Wendy’s seems to bear this out. Due to some feisty tweets, Wendy’s saw their follower count increase by over 350,000, not to mention all of the press it generated in the blogosphere.
It is clear that social media can have a huge effect on both a business’ relationship with its customers and its bottom line—for both good and bad—and it is not a force to be ignored.