Traditionally, businesses have paid for access to groups of people. Whether it's an ad for current or potential customers. A press release in a newspaper. A letter drop company. Recruiting a new staff member. Getting someone with access to people was the easiest way to reach the masses or the right crowd. Access to people is a relatively expensive exercise. So, a business accessing these networks might look something like the following diagram, also including the typical, hierarchical business interactions.
What if access to the groups of people associated with a business could be performed without the middleman? Social Media allows business to have direct, real-time interaction with all the business stakeholders, including customers and employees, through the power of the Internet and electronics communications. The main opportunity is for business to save on the costs by not having to pay for the middleman providing access to networks. Businesses can do it themselves, like the diagram below.
Social Media can save direct and indirect costs through:
- Communicating directly with your customers and business stakeholders
- Faster customer service response (e.g. The Twelp force by Best Buy)
- Monitoring company or brand sentiment (You don't want to end up like Cotton On and their baby tee shirts)
- Reducing recruitment costs (Find suitable hires through Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter)
- Advertise or promote (Volkswagen recently elected in the US and in the UK to not purchase any mainstream advertising, electing to release online and through Social Media channels
There are many other opportunities that haven't been identified yet so this is intended to be a starting list to prompt some ideas.
What do you think? Can you think of other ways to save money using Social Media? Is it worth paying someone else for access to a network of people when it's at every business's fingertips?
This article is part of a series on the different business facets to Social Media: