Social Media for Business Intro

Social Media

Social media has revolutionized the way we communicate and connect with each other. For businesses, social media is no longer an optional extra but a necessary tool to engage with customers, build brand awareness, and drive growth. In this guide, we’ll explore the concept of social media, its transformation of advertising, and how businesses can effectively use social media to their advantage.

What is Social Media?

Many people view social media as a technology. In reality, social media is best thought of as a medium for conversation. It enables people from all corners of the world to engage in discussions and share experiences, similar to how a phone allows you to speak with a faraway friend. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube serve as digital town squares where conversations happen in real-time.

A Major Paradigm Shift

In the past, advertising was one-way. Advertisers used television, radio, and newspaper ads to promote their products and services and had their businesses listed in the Yellow pages. When content was linear, they could market to a captive audience. However, with social media, two-way conversations between advertisers and consumers are not only possible but essential. Reviews allow consumers to benefit from the collective wisdom of others, enabling them to make informed decisions.

Filtering Through the Noise

People are busier than ever, and there’s an overwhelming amount of information available online. Social media helps users filter through this content by delivering relevant and engaging content based on their interests and connections.

Addressing Negative Feedback

Some businesses fear using social media due to potential for negative customer posts. But, regardless of whether a business is present on social media, consumers can still discuss their experience with the business. Ignoring negative feedback can lead to viral discussions, attracting others with similar grievances. Responding to negative reviews and addressing concerns allows businesses to present themselves in a more positive light, showing that they care about their customers’ experiences.

Example: Jeff Jarvis and Dell

In 2005, journalist Jeff Jarvis wrote a blog post entitled “Dell lies. Dell sucks.” after experiencing poor customer service with Dell. The post went viral, attracting attention from other disgruntled Dell customers. Dell responded to the situation by addressing the concerns of its customers publicly and implementing changes to improve their customer service experience.

Encouraging Positive Conversations

Businesses can encourage positive conversations about their brand by creating a blog, posting content that addresses common questions, and encouraging readers to share this content on social media. For example, a hardwood flooring contractor might create blog posts discussing various installation methods or different types of underlayment materials. Additionally, businesses could hold video contests and encourage customers to create videos about their brand experiences.

Staying Engaged with Customers

Regularly posting content on social media is crucial for keeping your audience engaged and informed about your brand. Soliciting feedback can help build a community around your business and foster meaningful relationships with your customers.

Video Overview

Back in 2012 we created this video introduction to social media for business, which covers many of the ideas discussed in this guide.


Social media offers businesses an unprecedented opportunity to engage in two-way conversations with their audience, address negative feedback, and encourage positive discussions about their brand. By embracing the power of social media, businesses can build strong online communities, foster customer loyalty, and ultimately grow their business.