Since coming on the scene less then ten years ago, social media has been pushing the boundaries of communication, changing the way families share information, how high school reunions are planned, and how photos are stored. The big three – Facebook, YouTube and Twitter – monopolize most of the media’s attention, but niche social networks for specialized groups are on the rise and gaining more market share every day.
If Facebook was a country, it would be the THIRD largest country in the world, larger than the United States, Indonesia and Japan combined. In the seven years since Facebook was launched as a college only website, it has become the top visited website in the United States, outranking Google and consuming nearly 16 hours of time per month for the average user.
The typical social media user can be categorized into one of three types. Content Creators, those who write reviews, share photos, run blogs; Curators, those who find the most relevant/interesting information and distribute it to their friends group; and Listeners, those who read posts from friends, click links that have been shared, etc. Content Creators are the smallest percentage of those interacting online, while the Curators are the largest.
What does this mean for your organization? Customers who are Content Creators are sharing reviews and discussing your business online. A global advertising survey conducted by Nielson revealed that 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations, versus only 14% that trust traditional advertising. The breakdown between Content Creators and Curators creates a digital culture where one or two reviews can make or break new customer growth.
Several years ago Comcast changed social media history when they launched @ComcastCares, a Twitter profile that actively sought and responded to issues customers were discussing via Twitter. Customers grew to expect immediate assistance with their technical support difficulties and Comcast delivered. By providing outstanding customer service, subscriber retention improved, resulting in a higher profit margin for Comcast.
It’s easy for you to get your feet wet in the world of social media and to learn how social media can make a difference for your organization.
- Sign up for profiles on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and Youtube.
- Start listening to what people are saying. Create Google alerts using your company name, products, etc. Each time someone blogs about your company you will get a notification letting you know what they are saying.
- Search Facebook, Linkedin and Youtube to see if anyone is already talking about your business. When Chick-fil-a launched their social media presence they worked with an existing fan base providing instant growth and recognition online – if brand evangelists are already singing your praises, ask them for help!
- Become a Content Creator. Start a blog discussing what your company knows and does best. The blog should not sell anything specifically, but provide valuable information that people will want to pass on.
- Do a Google search to see if there are any niche social networks your customers might be involved in. For instance: If you are a bridal shop – you may want to start using The Knot. If you sell art supplies – you may want to become a member of DeviantArt.
As you venture into the world of social media, remember that these tools are evolving as consumers use them, and features disappear and appear at will. We’ll be watching, tracking and keeping you updated and in the know. Check out A-Train on Facebook or Twitter for the latest and greatest tools and tricks to keep your social efforts up to date. Like our quote of the month implies, social media is like climbing a mountain and it’s easy to know which way to climb: up! But if you’re ready to take your social media to the next level with speed, efficiency and focus, we’re ready to be your Social Media Sherpas!