Last year, I don’t even think I knew what Twitter was, but that’s what’s so phenomenal about social media. It’s redefined the marketing, PR and advertising worlds in an extremely short period of time.
Between only February and March 2009, Twitter’s unique-visitor traffic rose 131 percent, taking the number of visitors to 9.3 million. Facebook now has 250 million users with over 100 million who log in at least once per day.
To many in the business world, social media is a strange, confusing concept. “Why would I care to know what you had for breakfast or what music you’re listening to?” you say? Social media is about closing the gap between companies and their consumers. Knowing everything about your consumers firsthand, even down to what they ate today, is a gift. Isn’t this the type of access marketers have been aching to gain for decades?
Last week, I attended a social media seminar led by the director of a public relations firm. She hit it on the head when she explained the attitudes that more traditional executives have toward social media. “They think social media is a bunch of kids on MySpace in the middle of the night,” she said. As she went on to explain, nothing could be further from the truth.
The basis of social media is sharing information in real time, and in doing so, making friends with business partners, customers and so on. To have the opportunity to post articles, blogs, videos and press releases for free and instantaneously have your entire social network see them is priceless. With a high number of users on these social media websites, information spreads like wildfire. Even faster than global news outlets. Now, that’s serious market exposure.
With the use of social networking sites, consumers and the media have total access to companies. This allows a few special things to happen:
· A culture develops within your social networks where you and users can connect and share ideas.
· You can provide value to your network by posting links to relevant resources and information.
· Companies become more trusted as members of their social networks feel less intimidated and more equal.
· You establish a leadership role among users and are able to listen and follow others.
If you combine all of the above outcomes of successful social media, this leads to consumers and the media becoming friends with a company. And that’s really all that matters because sales and media exposure will automatically follow.
Social media is not going anywhere, and those who refuse to accept that and jump in will ultimately outdate themselves and lose out on revenue.
What has your experience been with social media sites like Twitter and Facebook? Let me know your thoughts.