It seems hard to believe that we are now already a week into 2012. It seems just like yesterday the Y2K bug was going to destroy life as we know it. In less than a year from now, the Mayan Calendar will be completed and life as we know it will end once again.
If we take a look back to life as we knew it, even in 1999, it has completely changed or ended. To go from Point A to Point B, one had to either have been familiar with the area, had a map, or gone onto the internet beforehand to Mapquest and print off a map. Foresight was a necessity. Today, all we need to do is talk to the all knowing woman in our iPhones, and she can guide us to anywhere we can dream about.
Back in the good old days of the 1990’s, teenagers begged to have either their own phone lines, pagers, or if lucky enough, cell phones in order to communicate with their friends. Today every man, woman, child, and even unborn fetus it seems, has their own cell phone with unlimited minutes, texts, and data. Communication, no matter how insignificant, is constant and consistent. Bob Dylan was spot on when he said, “ The times they are a changing.”
One of the main ways in which life has changed in even the past five years, and is currently changing is through social media. Social media, and all of the web based applications that come with it, have enabled communication to penetrate the fiber of society to its core. Instant and direct communication now exists between person and person, person and business, and between businesses. This communication can be as simple as wanting to get together for lunch with an acquaintance, or as life changing as setting up places and times to meet to overthrow a government, as is what happened in Egypt last year.
There exists in today’s business culture a, “Set it and forget it” mentality coined by RonCo in his kitchen appliance informercials when it comes to Social Media. For example, some businesses create a Facebook page, and think that their businesses will grow, will become immensely profitable, the bad economy and their competition will disappear, and all will be right with the world because of Facebook. By some unknown and incomprehensible force, Facebook will save their business, and they won’t have to change anything for it to happen.
Some might consider it absurd to compare an infomercial to social media, but the fact is, many companies act like the slogan fits. The idea that Social Media is a silver bullet and the absolute antibody to cure a sick and failing business is prevalent today; By sheer participation, Social Media will cure all business ails. The truth is that Social Media is only a tool in a large tool belt, and when used properly, can serve a specific purpose in marketing a successful business.
There are different Social Media applications, and each of them are designed to fulfill different purposes to help businesses.
Facebook is one of the most widely known and used Social Media applications. There are currently about 800 million Facebook users, with half of the users logging on everyday! That is a huge potential audience. How do you get that audience to listen to what you are saying? How does having an audience increase your profitability? What do you say? When do you say it? The key with Facebook is to use it the way it is meant to be used. Just like you wouldn’t cut a piece of lumber with a hammer, neither would you use Facebook to do your monthly billing.
Another application in Social Media is LinkedIn. If Facebook is a dinner party, LinkedIn is a dinner party by invitation only with an unalterable seating arrangement. It serves a specific purpose, but it is important to define and understand what that purpose is before sitting down to eat.
The last Social Media application we will mention today is Twitter. Twitter is widely known for being the vehicle for apologies that athletes and celebrities use when they do or say something inappropriate. The truth is, Twitter serves a greater purpose if you can believe it. When a person decides to follow a person or company, it is their choice. That means, they want to hear from them. It is not an advertisement, but wanted communication, what is shared should be treated as such.
Social Media can have a huge impact on a company, and their brand. The key is to use the right tool at the right time, and in the right way. If you have any questions or need help with maximizing your Social Media, don’t think twice about asking us for help. It’s what we do.