Every major company has an online presence. Most corporations have a well-maintained and responsive Facebook page, X (formerly Twitter) feed and a branded website with clear, accessible links to their social media pages. Plus, certain audiences are much more engaged on social platforms like Instagram or, increasingly, TikTok. Companies that wish to target these audiences must engage them in their preferred environment.

A presence on social media makes a company appear approachable and in touch with its customer base. Through social media, companies can react swiftly to customer service complaints and compliments. This customer service method has the added bonus of lifting the cloak of secrecy that used to accompany communications between companies and consumers. Companies can convert potential problems into opportunities to promote customer service success stories, leading to a lot of free advertising and, crucially, a positive brand reputation.

Additionally, social media is no longer just a tool for marketing and brand development. For instance, social media provides businesses with invaluable insight into market trends through powerful analytics while streamlining e-commerce and direct selling opportunities. Understanding how to leverage social media tools is essential for every businessperson, from entrepreneurs to HR personnel to marketing directors. Given this, students in flexible programs like the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program should seize the opportunity to study social media through elective coursework.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is of significant interest to companies. Targeted marketing campaigns can drive traffic to a company’s website or other social media channels, encourage readership and customer engagement and boost sales.

Marketing professionals and the companies they work for now rely on the relatively recent emergence of alternative social media marketing platforms for efficiency and effectiveness. According to data from Statista, nearly 92% of marketers in U.S. companies with 100 or more employees had social media marketing duties in 2021. This comes as no surprise, considering the number of people using social media in 2023 grew to nearly five billion globally, according to Forbes. In fact, U.S. citizens have an average of slightly over seven social media accounts each.

Clearly, social media provides businesses with an immense amount of potential exposure. And marketers can connect with their audiences in unique and creative ways through social media platforms. Quickly and proactively responding to other users’ mentions of a business’s products or services is also an excellent opportunity for free marketing, brand awareness and promotion.

For instance, if a celebrity makes a social media post about a product, service, industry or trending topic, savvy social media managers can seize the opportunity to either react positively or distance themselves from the subject, depending on public perception and trends. Further, engaging with and contracting social media users with an established community of followers to promote products and services — known as influencer marketing — is now common practice in social media marketing.

Interestingly, HubSpot reports that 67% of marketers work with micro influencers (10K-100K followers), while only 29% work with mega influencers (one million or more followers). The strength of influencer community engagement matters, sometimes more than the size of the community.

A Direct Connection to Your Audience

Speaking of community, what makes a social media approach to marketing unique is the quick, unhindered access a company has to its audience. Companies can make changes, support their customers, advise and reassure during times of change and communicate in real time. They can also use marketing strategies unique to the online space, such as holding Facebook giveaways, live streaming special events or product launches on Instagram and announcing company news before media outlets.

Social media managers can connect directly with a company’s targeted demographic and build a community of consumers. They can also analyze customers using tools built into networks and sell directly to customers through in-app purchase options. The sales team can use the findings to increase closing rates by identifying the right market.

Quality Content Is Key

Once a company uses social media to interact with its clientele, it must provide quality content that users want to read, view, share and interact with. The company can then ensure its brand is front and center of any conversations that interest its target market.

For example, a company making baby products may publish long- and short-form content on its site that addresses and discusses parenting issues, thereby engaging with customers directly. Yet short-form videos tend to draw the most engagement, especially with younger audiences. Content — and the type of content or media format used — should be targeted to what the audience cares about as well as that audience’s media preferences and demographics.

This “humanization” element makes customers feel at ease and can increase a company’s likability — as long as personalized content feels authentic. Companies must be careful that their campaigns are seen as sincere and not just an attempt to promote their products. Modern consumers are smart and can anticipate a sales pitch. The best approach is to aim to develop an ongoing conversation and relationship.

Study Social Media in an Online MBA Program

Those serious about becoming business leaders should explore the many benefits of earning an MBA, including the opportunity to study social media. Social media literacy is becoming an increasingly important component in a range of business degrees, whether or not the program specifically focuses on marketing.

TAMU-CC understands the importance of engaging with social media communities to identify, target and connect with consumers. The school’s online MBA program offers an elective Social Media Marketing course to prepare graduates for the wired world of modern business. Through these studies, aspiring business professionals of all types can learn how to engage and communicate with diverse audiences through social media platforms, fostering community, brand awareness, and a customer base.

Becoming a leader in business requires a multi-pronged approach to success. In today’s digital world, a knowledge of the possibilities afforded by social media marketing is essential.

Learn more about TAMU-CC’s online MBA program.