Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why Use Social Media?

Why consider social media? Ask consumers. A recent survey by industry analyst firm Yankee Research Group shows 70% of consumers want to interact with companies over social networks (think Facebook, Twitter) but only about 30% of businesses are prepared for it.

Earlier this month Old Spice launched a blockbuster advertising/social media campaign that caught everyone’s attention featuring ex-football player Isaiah Mustafa. Social networks lit up and the Old Spice YouTube Channel ( ) went viral with 75 million views. The campaign was a smashing success because it took a dusty product everyone thought was “their fathers’ brand” and instantly made it hip and trendy. Result: Old Spice is opening some powerful new markets.

Social media is changing the way businesses, customers and employees interact, said analysts who conducted the survey. That creates significant opportunities. Old Spice realized that, and is realizing the benefits.

Can your business utilize social media? Yes. How? That takes a little more thinking. But here is food for thought:

Social media is useful for almost every type of business. A hugh misconception is that social media is only for online brands. it’s not. Small retailers, manufacturers, professional services and others can use social media to build their online reputation and increase trust.

Social media is about community. It’s not about advertising or public relations, where a single outlet (Big Corporation or Big Media) broadcasts a tightly controlled message to many listeners. It’s about networks - hubs - communities of people with similar interests, all taking part in a community dialogue. It’s more like walkling around your block, talking to your neighbors, than sitting in your living room watching television. .

You can take advantage of this phenomenon by creating your own online social networking community and participating in others. The benefits include making your business more accessible and more personable while developing valuable long term connections.