Beyond the Social Media Hype
There is no doubt that Social Media is on the rise … but the question from many business owners is,
"Is Social Media just a fad?"
The dilemma is apprent. Businesses do not want to start investing in a new platform that sounds as wildly faddish as the '90s dot-com bubble, but they are afraid to ignore its incredible possibilities. So the question bears investigation by taking the term "Social Media" out of the equation and just talking about what is really happening today on the internet.
Social Media & Connectivity
The advances on the internet and in digital technology have allowed for a capacity of connectivity never seen before in history and people are taking to it like ducks to water. Here are some statistics taken from Qualman's blog.
-96% of Millenials have joined a social network.
-Half the world's population is under 30.
-Social Media is the # 1 Web Activity.
-Facebook added over 200 million users in less than a year.
-25% of search results for the World's Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content.
Once people connect, they share.
Social Media & Free Information
Sharing has gone beyond posting family pictures, status updates and funny anecdotes. It has blossomed into robust participation of linked networks with supporting members that disseminate information and build relationships. And these networks of internet communities have become accredited to getting their questions answered in almost every category at no cost.
Sites like YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have had explosive growth and have amassed large amounts of followers due to free participation and free information. Whether it's for entertainment, socialization, promoting special causes or business building, free advice and information have emerged as the new currency.
Social Media & Marketing
Technology and new digital platforms will continue to make sharing easier and more effective. In February, Google's Live Streaming Mobile Event reported on the mobile device boom and its unforeseen meteor rise. What you may not know is how social media sites take share to the next level for marketing purposes. Many social sites already allow members to see what their friends and group members are sharing, liking and recommending.
This peer recommendation strategy is evident on Facebook where you can see Facebook Ads and business pages that your friends have 'liked'. Facebook is very aware of peer influence and how it affects buying habits. They're no dummies.
Now you know Your Aunt Betty "Likes" Calgon and Uncle Bob does too.
Social Media & Business
So what does this inter-connectivity and sharing mean for local businesses?
It means that businesses that want to take advantage of the trends in popular behavior and technology need to be part of the conversation and free exchange of ideas. Giving free, solidifying relationships and then finally, when trust is built, asking for the sale. The businesses that are doing it well are reaping the rewards of this connectivity-sharing paradigm shift.
So, is "Social Media" is a fad?
Without the internet totally breaks down completely, sharing information and staying connected digitally will become commonplace and will be what is expected, not the exception. Now is a great time for businesses to start participating instead of being spectators. The best action a business can take is the first step; Subscribe to the four main social media sites, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Then the sky's the limit.