Social media is, at its essence, about connecting with people. Unfortunately, too many individuals and companies believe that social media is about reaching people, or, to put it in the proper web 2.0 vernacular, spamming. Everyone knows a spammer when they see one and they will usually ignore what the spammer has to say, so I’ll continue my focus on connections.
There are things that are very important about your life – family, religion, work, hobbies – and this is why social media is the evolution in communication that it is. Before the advent of all the different social media avenues we have today (cell phones, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs, forums, and all the rest) we talked to people directly. Which is fine and is still an extremely important part of everyday life. But now we can communicate with billions of people with a couple clicks of the mouse.
This astonishing evolution of technology makes it possible for anyone to have direct access to those who have the best knowledge on just about every subject available. Granted, there is a lot of static in the social web but, in general, most people try to be as genuine on the Internet as they are in real life. When you are considering a venture into the social media world you need to understand this.
If you are under the impression that social media is something to be gamed then you will most certainly fail at creating any kind of long lasting relationships. Maybe you will be able to finagle some new business this way but, rest assured, if your product is subpar or your clients figure out that you are nothing more than a charlatan you will eventually fail.
On the other hand, if your product is good and people trust you then great things can happen. Chic fil-A, Dell, and Zappos are all great examples of how proper use of social media can improve a business. Small companies are using social media to achieve great results as well.
Using social media is not easy nor is it free. To be effective you will need to spend a good amount of your time on it but, to put it bluntly, you don’t really have a choice anymore.
Every time a customer leaves your store they may very well log onto Yelp and post a positive or negative review of your company. At a minimum you need to have mechanisms in place for monitoring what is said about you and your company online. If you don’t you will lose control of your brand and you will have no input into what others think about you or your company.
What’s your holdup? Get active online and make things happen!