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How to quell your doubts about social media and go for it

After MySpace was sold for $580 million (£380 million) to News Corporation, it raised doubts about social media. After all, it was the biggest social media platform in the world. It was so big that it surpassed Google as the most popular website in the US. On April 28th 2008 it was overtaken by Facebook and clearly surpassed by May 2009. On September 24th 2015, the surviving entity, now called myspace (small ‘s’) had an Alexa traffic rank of 1912 by total web traffic and 1296 in the United States.

The decline of this giant casts doubts about the sustainability of social media. How much time, money, and effort should a company invest to develop its social media presence?

Fortunately, these fears appear to be unwarranted. The decline of MySpace was not due to a good idea gone bad. Instead, it had more to do with Facebook giving people more of what they wanted from a social media platform. And Facebook is not the only social media website doing well. There seems to be no signs of Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest slowing down.

Addressing the Elephant in the Room

Still, before discussing how to use social media, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. In a Bloomberg article appropriately entitled The Rise and Inglorious Fall of Myspace, Felix Gillette offers a good summary of what happened:

“Mismanagement, a flawed merger, and countless strategic blunders have accelerated Myspace's fall from being one of the most popular websites on earth — one that promised to redefine music, politics, dating, and pop culture — to an afterthought. ”

Another reason why Facebook rose while MySpace declined was the open architecture policy initiated by Facebook. Facebook invited developers to build new apps. By contrast, MySpace was territorial, and it insisted on building everything in-house.

Also, Facebook recognized that users like predictability. They refrained from doing major redesigns, only making tweaks when necessary for improved functionality. Myspace, in contrast, panicked in 2009 and made major design changes. Instead of helping the company make a comeback, it precipitated its fall.

3 Good Ways To Jump On The Bandwagon

In the final analysis, the fall of Myspace was an anomaly. It should not be seen as an example of the fickle nature of social media. Instead, it should be viewed as an example of what not to do. This is a lesson the most popular social media platforms appear to have learned, and it is a major reason for their success. For this reason, social media is actually more sustainable than ever before.

With that in mind, how do you jump on the bandwagon and use it to drive a steady stream of leads to your website?

Here are 3 tips to help you get started with it:

  1. Stay the course. Although many companies are eager to join social media, their level of engagement tends to fade after a period of time. There are usually two reasons for this type of behaviour. The first is that they don’t know how to engage. For instance, they don’t know how to provide content that gets attention. The second is that the business does not have the time and resources to keep their social media presence alive. The solution is to outsource social media management and find customisable products. Social media experts can help sustain social media presence, create engaging content and help grow your business.
  2. Use social media to build your reputation. When customers hear about your product or service, they often do a quick Google search to find out about other people’s buying experience with your company has been. Inevitably, they will stumble upon your social media platforms. Spontaneous testimonials and an engaged customer base will win them over.
  3. Don’t stop doing what is already working in your marketing. Chances are that you are using organic and paid advertising to run your business. Well, SEO and advertising works synergistically with social media. There is a positive feedback loop, a virtuous cycle between all three feeding and boosting each other.

3 Good Reasons to Believe In Social Media

Naturally, this raises the question: “Will my business benefit if I invest my time, money, and effort in social media?”

Social Media examiner looked into companies that were doing social media right. In all they looked at 9 companies that were thriving.

Here are 3 top profiles from their research:

First, Martell Home Builders moved from relying on realtors to becoming self-reliant through social media. They built a blog and used content creation to address buyer’s interests. Today, they get 86% of their leads directly rather than working through realtors.

Second, Zappos, an online retailer, found a good way to build relationships with customers interested in the company’s shoes, clothing and accessories. Their strategy focused on building a fan base. They asked customers to Like their page. Once customers clicked on the button, they were invited to sign up to be on their email list.

Third, Giantnerd, an outdoor equipment company, used social media to give their hiking, biking, and snowboarding customers more value, as well as befriend them in the process. The company integrated social media into their website. Customers could join through a one-click process. A 5% discount on their products was used as incentive for people to become members of their network.