Social media is currently in the same place webpages where in the mid-1990’s where businesses where putting up their business webpage and expecting people to come and start buying. It wasn’t until businesses realised they needed to promote their website and integrate it with their existing marketing that their webpages started generating emails, calls and sales. Social Media is at the same point with many companies starting to sign up because its the latest way to gain customers and generate sales, however they are treating like a webpage by waiting for the likes, followers, and contacts but they aren’t coming. Like all marketing and promotion of brands and products it takes time, planning and effort to engage with your customers and let them know that your there and create a company identity and message.
So like the businesses in the 1990’s that realised they could use their website to gain customers through news, deals and integrating e-commerce, its time businesses realised that engaging with customers through social media and using it as a tool can create an brand identity and generate interest and increase sales.
Many businesses spent tens of thousands of dollars creating webpages and e-commerce platforms back in the mid-1990’s, but this time there is a difference – social media is unbelievably cheap in comparison to other forms of marketing and advertising. Businesses can spend just few thousand dollars to get your brand or product out across the world. Of course, it depends on the size and number of products but when comparing social media with advertising in trade magazines or attending expos businesses could save thousands with a social media presence.
Today on twitter I saw a link to Design Victoria Social Media Breakfast presentation slides. It is probably the best set of slides I have seen on how, what, why of formulating a social (media) strategy for small to medium (SME) business.
Digital Surgeons recently posted an infographic – Facebook vs Twitter. The most interesting data is the differences between Age Group, Education, mobile logins and brand followers. Both sets of users(fb and twitter) have a low percentage of brand following, however it would be interesting to see the data on word of mouth/mentions of brands that occurs on the two services as I am sure it would be higher than the direct engagement(following/liking/fan). Also I query how they measured or defined a login as many people use desktop or browser app programs to login to twitter and facebook.
Infographics are becoming more and more popular, however we are often left asking how the data was collected and the rigorousness of the analysis. The digital surgeons infographic gives great data in instantly referencing form.
Current Social Media is about 4-5 years old depending on who you listen or follow but really didn’t start to gain traction until 2008. Over time its has been mostly referred to as Social Media but many people who are seen as the Social Media experts/gurus/advocates/insert your catchy name/ have not always been happy with the term Social Media as it really didn’t describe the arena of social interaction very well. People thought social media was just blogs or videos(youtube) or facebook or twitter(micro-blogs) or gowalla (location based) platforms rather than the whole arena of social interaction.
Recently, I have noticed that many people in the Social Media industry have started referring to Social Media as ‘Social’ not in written form such as blogs but in podcasts and videos. Whether this is due to the recent movie about facebook called the Social Network or just a general evolution of the terminology, only time will tell. I hope it sticks because I personally don’t like the term Social Media I think its a little confusing in defining the numerous platforms that make up social interaction on the web.