Social media is helping to forge a new era in business transparency and engagement, creating both new challenges and opportunities. Gone are the days when companies could rely on carefully crafted press releases or flashy ad campaigns to communicate with their customers, often in an attempt to convince people that their products are the best in the field. In the age of social media, the rules have changed radically, and people today demand a more honest and direct relationship with the companies with which they do business.

Below are the top four broad shifts that social media is causing in business

1. From “Trying to Sell” to “Making Connections”

In order to change the context of customer relationships from trying to sell to seeking to engage and connect with customers, companies need to use various means, including sites like Facebook and Twitter, to socially interact with people. The most popular brands in social media tend to post less about their products or services and more about things that help their customers get to know the people and personality of a company.

2. From “Large Campaigns” to “Small Acts”

With sites like Facebook and Twitter, we all essentially have our own broadcasting network, and businesses are beginning to see that rather than spending millions of dollars on traditional ad campaigns, small acts can be more valuable because people will inevitably share such experiences through the social web.In the past, if we had a very bad or very good experience with a company, it could take days or weeks to tell all of our friends and relatives about it. Today, in a matter of minutes, we can let all our friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter know about what happened. When every customer experience can be easily and widely broadcast, small issues become super important.

3. From “Controlling Our Image” to “Being Ourselves”

Of course companies need to have employee policies, and there is such a thing as bad press, but look at the most popular companies in the era of social media, and you’ll generally find the ones that give their employees freedom to be themselves in online spaces. The goal should no longer be to create a very controlled and polished image that everyone in a company tries to reinforce, but rather to give employees the means necessary to be human beings that can put a friendly face on the corporation.

4. From “Hard to Reach” to “Available Everywhere”

To engage with customers, it is no longer enough to have an email address and customer service number on one’s website. Today, people want to interact with and engage businesses via their chosen means of communication, whether that is Twitter, Facebook, discussion forums, or a feedback site likeGet Satisfaction.

Source : Mashable


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