So what’s the big hype with social media? What exactly is it anyway?
Social Media is the medium of websites and applications that enable users to create and share content and participate in social networking, for instance, like Facebook and Twitter. Social media is actually one of the top reasons why people go online.
What did we all do before social media? It seems like so long ago but it’s only really been about 10 years. Before social media, companies would spend a lot of time and money developing a strategy together with the best and smartest in their development teams and push it onto the customer. So it was a one-way street; the company developed it, the consumer either bought it, or not. Once rolled out, there was no returning the arrow to the bow. And only time would tell if it worked or not. Of course the use of market research and sales strategies were good indictors. But now it’s completely different; social media can do for you in just 1 day what a full-blown campaign did in over 6 months. That’s huge – not only in terms of time but also in terms of dollars!
Why is social media so effective? As I mentioned above, the old style was a one-way street, a company would roll something out and that was that. But now it’s a two-way street or even a complex four-way intersection. Companies don’t just roll out products anymore, and even when they do, they get a response right away and have the ability to respond. The consumer now has a very powerful and immediate voice, and you better believe that they are aware of this. This voice is – no surprise – called social media.
It takes just one person in this world of social media. Just one person tweeting that they love your product to 1,000 of their friends and followers, and a wave is born. Those people might then re-tweet to their friends and followers, and so on, causing an unexpected and exponential spread of your information. All of a sudden, a million people know about your product. Now consider the alternative, what if that one person had a bad experience with your product?
As you can imagine, social media has become critical for branding and marketing because a consumer can have an immediate and significant impact. Now companies can listen and make necessary changes instead of company damaging mistakes. A wonderful example of this is Polaroid. Polaroid decided to stop making their revolutionary instant film in 2008. Only 20 years ago, people would have been forced to accept this, whether they like it or not. But in this fast paced age of social media, Polaroid fans found their voice. They immediately found each other (in this case, via the photography social media giant Flickr), and cutting a long story short, led to an Austrian millionaire and entrepreneur deciding to spearhead their cause and establish the Impossible Project (it’s an interesting story, look it up J).
Social media is key to brand awareness and new opportunities. What used to be a one-way street is now is a communication intersection of information and feedback. Use social media wisely and you will not be let down. And of course always listen to your consumers.