How will social media trends affect online marketing?

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Answered by: Thomas, An Expert in the Social Media Marketing Category
When it comes to online marketing, most successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of following social media trends. When Hollywood celebrity Alec Baldwin was removed from an American Airlines jet for being disruptive, he immediately took to his Twitter account. Within 24 hours, American Airlines had issued a formal apology and managed to downplay an incident which might have proved even more embarrassing, had the company chosen to ignore it.

Social media trends are an important aspect of anyone looking to build an online business. Naturally, this also applies to brick-and-mortar stores, as well. By keeping abreast of what is being said about a company through social media sites, businesses can track down what customers are saying about them, as well as how well the public is perceiving the company. Any business that has been on the receiving end of bad reviews from Yelp, for example, knows that bad word-of-mouth can be crippling to commerce.

In order to understand current social media trends, companies should kept abreast of the different technologies that are always showing up on the horizon. This doesn't mean that a business owner needs to be a technology wizard, though. It simply means the business owner should understand the latest software and hardware social networking tools that are available. Knowing which programs and websites are attracting the most attention can help a business know where to focus attention on new products and services.

One common mistake that individuals and companies make when attempting to use social media trends is not spending enough time understanding how the social networking system works. In many cases, a company will simply create a social networking account and will immediately begin blasting out bargains and deals and specials. This is the cyber-equivalent of pushing out spam online. What needs to be done is use a "light touch" with the social network. Allow some personality to appear in the various postings the company submits online. When comments are made, engage the individual in a dialogue. The more that a potential customer feels as if they are part of the company's "inner circle," the more likely it is that a solid business foundation can be built.

If there are unfavorable comments made on a social media site, it's important to keep from engaging the unhappy individual in an argument. Instead, a business owner might suggest the discussion be handled either via email or with a phone conversation. However, the company should make sure the individual who is complaining is not simply "blown off." Instead, the person handling the business account needs to open a dialogue with the dissatisfied customer, then explain that the company will do whatever it takes to make things right. Follow that up with a suggestion that the full details might be sent in an email to the company, which will then allow the company to investigate the claims.

While many companies view social networking sites to be a cause for concern, companies and individuals that understand the way that human nature works will embrace the potential for using social media to both increase business and customer satisfaction.

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