Over the past 10 years, social media has become the most prominent way people interact online. It is safe to say that it will be around for the long haul and brands must be able to adapt. Within the social context, users have the ability to start conversations and engage with one another through commentary. Publishing online content – or “microblogging” - is becoming increasingly easy and has played a key role in the growth of social media.

In terms of marketing, social media has become a necessity in business. Effectively using social media allows businesses to build important, lasting relationships with their target market and continue this communication long after the initial contact.

Consumer Engagement 

A great example of the way online content and social media go hand in hand is Guidefitter's Braggin' Wall. It is a place on their website that allows users to share photos of recent hunting and fishing trips with their fellow outfitters. Not only is it a good way to get people to interact on the website, but it provides content that other users want to share on social media.

Another similar example of interactive online content is National Geographic's "Your Shot" that also allows users to share photos with the online community.

Important Note: Users do not view social media as a marketing machine, they view it as a platform for networking. Therefore, they are more receptive to what a brand has to say rather than viewing content as exclusive advertising. 

Consumer Feedback

Social media is the ideal platform to gain user feedback. User information spreads throughout social media channels extremely fast in the form of opinions. Brands need to use this information to their advantage by gaining the insight to aid the development of their product or service. This will also help a business save on customer service costs.

Sharable Icons

Maintaining a strong social media presence is critical for businesses to establish brand loyalty, however, this is only half the battle. Your customers must be able to locate your social channels in order to follow and subscribe. As social media has continued to evolve, users have come to expect to find your social media accounts listed on your website. 

Generally, social icons are placed in one of two places: your website’s header or its footer. Consider the Community Tax website as an example. Within the footer of their website they clearly have each social network linked to, using an icon representative of each particular network. This clearly conveys to the viewer how to further connect with the brand on social media.

Above all, ensure your marketing team is creating fun content that is useful to the end user.