The retail industry is increasingly looking for ways to effectively gain access to social media and capture the attention of consumers who seem to be resistant to traditional internet advertising. While some retailers seem confused by the online world of social media, others are pretty comfortable in realizing that effective navigation in social networks can lead to successful brand building, expansion of customer base and penetration of new markets. Besides, the more consumers are embracing the Internet, the more businesses are embracing social networking as means to attract and retain their customers.
Social media marketing has found its way in the U.S. retail industry by working out the concept of social networks. Through the use of Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz and the latest Foursquare, retailers get followers and also value for their products and services. Facebook with 500 million monthly unique visitors and 64 percent increase since 2009 is the number one social network that companies use to attract new customers. Twitter follows with 105 million registered users, while Google Buzz and Foursquare are the newcomers in the exciting world of social networking.
Modern organizations, but also smaller businesses that are both willing and able to learn the ropes of new services are also able to anticipate new market trends in order to take advantage of altering market realities. Besides, firms use corporate blogs to communicate their message to consumers and keep them informed in real-time about any corporate development that affects business operations in a positive or negative way. In doing so, they establish their presence in the blogosphere rather emphatically.
The future of the retail industry seems rather positive in relation to social media. In the competitive business environment of today, there are three basic facts: (1) digital advertising is increasing; (2) social media marketing is increasingly leveraged; and (3) virtual world is becoming mainstream. At the same time, there is the prominent example of Starbucks that has developed a global chain with the use of social media. Engaging nearly 8 million followers on Facebook and nearly 1 million followers on Twitter, Starbucks answers questions, reads customer feedback, has open communication with its customers and expands its customer base without the help of traditional advertising.
Considering all the above factors, one can draw a single conclusion: social media marketing is a powerful strategy to promote a business in a cost-effective way. Having low barriers of entry, it allows any firm to take advantage of its huge potential and use a web platform as a means to turn a website into a profitable and successful business.