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Social media – not just an industry buzzword, but a genuine opportunity

By Andrew McDougall , 29-Nov-2011
Last updated on 29-Nov-2011 at 17:22 GMT2011-11-29T17:22:20Z

Social media – not just an industry buzzword, but a genuine opportunity

Social media has been an industry buzzword for a long time, and as many companies have begun to get involved, some are still not maximising its full capabilities. Having seen the platform develop and appear as a mainstay in modern marketing strategies, it now looks like there is no choice for businesses - either adapt to this new reality or disappear.

According to a study by Constant Contact Research, 56 percent of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand after ‘liking’ them on Facebook. And half of consumers say they are more likely to then buy a product after doing so, showing the influence this platform has.

The same study also looked at the microblogging site Twitter and how it relates to business. It found that 6 in 10 people who follow a brand are more likely to recommend that brand to a friend. And half of brand followers are more likely to then have bought from, or buy from that brand.

These figures are similar to the ones for Facebook and although just two of the various examples possible shows that the penny is beginning to drop for businesses and brands when it comes to social media.

Embrace and enhance

According to Richard Stacy of Stacy Consulting, who specializes in social media and brand strategy, the cosmetic industry could benefit from social media if it embraces the platform and approaches it as a tool to enhance the business.

“Social media is a whole new approach to the way you manage a business, based upon a more involved relationship with your stakeholders, be they customers, consumers or your own employees,” he told CosmeticsDesign.com USA.

Stacy points out that evidence from the businesses that have used social media tools successfully thus far is that the real return on investment from social media comes from the ability to get people, whom you don't pay, to help you do your business.

“It is therefore not so much about selling more products (as with traditional marketing) but more about making better products or running your business more efficiently,” he added.

Cosmetics industry still unsure

The cosmetics industry, much like the consumer goods sector has not fully grasped the opportunity available from this platform.

Stacy stated that technology companies such as Dell, Microsoft or Cisco tend to be the leaders in this area and that it is companies based in the US or the US operations of international brands that lead the way, simply because the US is further down the road in terms of widespread understanding and adoption of what social media can deliver.

Born out of blogs, social media has become a big part of life and business and, according to Stacy, in the cosmetics industry it is the smaller companies, who are doing some interesting things, whilst the majority of companies are not quite being as effective.

Whilst more is being done, and more companies get on board, there still seems to be a better understanding to be gained, and Stacy believes it is only through implementing a full social media strategy that companies can see the real benefits.

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