Saturday, February 25, 2012

Do you know what Social Media is?

Everyone’s buzzing, Social Media this, Social Media that. What is social media and what’s the deal? Can you be using it in your business? Should you be using it in your business?

I will answer all of these questions by the end of this article, and while I can’t tell you whether or not it’s for your business, certainly I can help you get a pretty good idea.

To understand exactly how Social Media came to be such a driving force in the business industry, you must understand how it started changing over time, both how Social Media adapted to people and people to Social Media.

What Is Social Media?

Social Media in its simplest form, refers to a platform for people to discuss and participate socially with one another. In fact when Social Media started it had almost no business applications at all. Social Media sites mainly started up in order to allow friends to better communicate with friends over the Internet.

Websites like MySpace and Facebook quickly became popular among friends and social groups alike and started setting the pace for what is social media as we know it today. At first it was just friends and people talking with friends and people online. But eventually businesses and other organizations realized that they could get some of the action and greatly benefit from it.

As a result companies started building Facebook pages. This was (and is) brilliant, because it gave companies a lot of flexibility and options when it came to getting customer feedback and adapting their business strategy to better meet customer needs. For example NBC could create a Facebook page for some popular sitcom, and then leave a post saying “Did you like last night’s episode of such and such?” Instant feedback.

Some companies are able to take it a step further than that, not only getting feedback but using that feedback to craft perfectly matched marketing messages. For example a pizza parlor could easily set up a Facebook page, and then make a post saying “What is your favorite pizza?” and then using the results (say people voted that pepperoni was their favorite) make the following post “Use this coupon code in order to get a %10 discount on your next pepperoni pizza.” Instant cashflow.

Some companies are able to take it even another step further. Say you’re in the golf market; you could make a post asking “What is the one thing about Golf that frustrates you the most?” Say a majority of people come back saying “developing a consistent swing” you could then go and create an information product that serves that need, perhaps a video course or an EBook about developing a consistent golf swing and sell it online from your website.

When it comes to Social Media the possibilities are nearly endless, if your company could benefit from being able to better communicate with your prospects (and what company wouldn’t?) as well as being able to gather quick and useful data in order to make educated decisions, then your company can be benefiting from Social Media.

By now you should have a good idea of what is social media, so go sign up and make an account on Twitter and Facebook. If you are nervous when it comes to actually using these platforms, then watch and see how some other organizations use it and then try to follow in their footsteps and emulate their success.

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