What is Social Media for Business?
I’ve spent a few evenings and Saturday mornings at MeetUps and other seminars trying to figure out what Social media is and how to apply it to business. As with all things seemingly infinitely complex once you get it you wonder why it was so baffling before.
Facebook (or social media in general) is like sitting in a stadium watching television on fifteen giant screens at once along with ten thousand other people with interests somehow vaguely related to your interests. Each person (including you) has a remote that controls the channel on one of the big screens, the sound is off but all the screens are subtitled – not with the subtitle of the video feed – it’s the text of the conversations going on at the snack bar and in the restrooms.
Combine it all into a single computer or smart phone screen, spread the spectators and remotes out across the world and connect them using the internet and you’ve got a chaotic avalanche of bits and blurbs called social media that now engages the average citizen for one to five hours out of every day.
Savvy businesses are promoting to this audience with a combination of free content, product placements, and paid advertising bits and blurbs that pop up sometimes no matter what button anyone in the audience chooses.
Facebook (or social media in general) is the direct marketing arena of the mobile generation. U.S. Postal advertising mail volumes plummeted as advertisers shifted from physical mailings to e-mail campaigns and robocalling phone marketing plummeted with the advent of do-not-call lists.
Facebook and Skype (the leader in computer to computer, device or phone conversation technology for consumers) recently joined forces and facebook has their own mobile phone system in the works. The text, status update and tweet are all beginning to blur into a single entity as users automatically feed each into the others. Transcribers and readers are popping up to convert your voice mail into text or vice-versa.
It’s not clear how the blurring and melding of communication will play out, but it is clear that having a big list of followers will provide advertisers with more diverse targets as it does.
This analogy also points out an important consideration for any marketing efforts you attempt using social media – think for a moment about the public’s opinion of junk mail and telemarketers – then design your efforts accordingly.