Anyone who is familiar with social media realizes the tremendous impact that it has on local businesses. One example of this is seen with Groupon. A restaurant that uses Groupon to deliver virtual coupons to local residents can sometimes see a three hundred percent increase in customer traffic. At the same time, Amazon Local also sends hundreds of new customers to local businesses who are signed up with the service. Yet, do social media have the potential to have an impact on world business? Many analysts believe that it does. After all, in one respect, using the Internet has simply made people from around the world “local” users. Someone ordering a hot wax treatment kit in New York on Amazon, for example, can share experiences with people from around the world. If the word-of-mouth is favorable, anyone with access to a computer can purchase the same hot wax treatment kit. So, if someone posts a “tweet” on Twitter, discussing some great car loans a company gave the family, there’s a very good chance that someone who is following Twitter and is also looking for car loans might be interested in checking out where the company which gave the great loan deals. By the same token, someone returning from a vacation they booked on Lahainahotels.com might post about their experiences on a Facebook account. Before long, people who are following a particular Facebook account might find themselves visiting the Laihainahotels.com website and checking out the bargains being offered. In fact, social media is seen as one of the reasons that Facebook is worth so much money. If someone does a search for car loans on Facebook, for example, it will pull up any Facebook pages that deal with car loans. Visitors to Facebook can look at different rates and percentages from their Facebook account, never having to actually leave the Facebook site. At the same time, the people who operate Lahainahotels.com might create a Facebook page for the business, knowing there are individuals who are going to be looking for the best hotels at the best prices, and they will be led there during a Facebook search. Another way that social media contributes to business around the world is allowing people to interact with each other and with the businesses who have social networking links. If a lending institution specializing in car loans decides to open a Twitter account, it can monitor all “tweets” that relate to the subject of car loans. At the same time, if the owners of Lahainahotels.com create a social networking account, it enables the business to find out what customers are saying about the company. If the comments are favorable, business will likely to increase. Sometimes, though, individuals might not have a favorable experience with a business. When dissatisfied with a company, many people will voice their complaints online. Businesses that have social media systems in place will be able to see what people are saying, and if there is a problem, the business can take immediate steps to make things right with the customer. When a company acts quickly and does right by the customer, word-of-mouth will spread across the Internet at the speed of a high-speed download, and in the end, the business will discover the benefits of using social media to stay connected to its customers.
A Guest Blog by Kathleen Hubert is a blogger who writes on a variety of different sites. Check out more of her work at www.autoloan.org