Social Media Matters and is HERE To Stay

 


Social Media Matters and is HERE To Stay

 

 

Last weekend I attended the SocialBoom conference in Tampa, Florida and met my coach, Kim Garst, as well as my online business friends.

Kim masterminded an outstanding conference with timely topics and insightful presenters. Social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk, New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best-Selling author, was just one of several excellent speakers. My main purpose in attending this conference was to further equip myself to help you reach and communicate more effectively with your customers through social media. I was not disappointed. There is so much to share, so let’s jump right in!

Here’s the take-away message of the SocialBoom conference:

Social media matters and is here to stay… And we haven’t seen anything yet!

It was awesome to be with other entrepreneurs who are excited about social media as a way to reach, interact with and better serve our customers. The message that came through loud and clear is social media is relevant and is here to stay. We have only begun to see the rise of social media because it brings a personal touch into an impersonal and densely populated business environment. But it wasn’t always this way…Let me explain.

My father owned a bakery in a small village in The Netherlands. He was well aware of the importance of listening to his customers. He did everything to satisfy the customer, because if he didn’t  word would get around our small village. In attention to his customers’ feedback could give his bakery (and him, by extension) a bad name. The customer might even go to another bakery.

Fast forward to an economy that spans the world. Instead of selling to neighbors, companies sell to a “demographic.” Large companies decide what to sell and there is little opportunity for individual customers to influence what is available to them. After having decided on a product line and its features, companies then spend advertising dollars to convince the customers to want what has been made available for sale.

As commerce has become more rooted in the Internet, social media provides a way for the customer to once more have a voice and communicate directly with businesses they buy from. The customer is valued more than ever because the customer has access to information.

Do you read online reviews about a product before you buy it? Of course you do. More and more people do nowadays.
Both the customer and the company benefit from having information about each other. The customer can develop a relationship with the company through communication and feedback. Companies can make changes to better serve their customers because they have direct access to customer feedback…Just like my dad did with his bakery.

At the same time the Internet has become more dominant in commerce, bringing customers and companies into more frequent and direct contact, tremendous advances have been in the capabilities of mobile devices. And mobile devices are fueling the widespread use of social media.

Most people own smartphones and they engage with social media platforms on the go. It’s convenient to be connected 24/7. Go to a boarding area of any airport and you’ll see waiting passengers engaging with the outside world – most likely through their social media platforms.

Social Media is here to stay, whether you like it or not. It is not a fad. It is no longer a trend. Simply put, social media is a fundamental shift in the way we communicate. And it’s here to stay!

Here are some facts to further consider:

1. Social media usage is growing

More people than ever before are using social media sites to connect with friends and family. Facebook is currently the most frequented social networking site, set to soon hit a billion users! Facebook is definitely a key player in the social media mix, having today become a routine part of many people’s online activities.

The next most frequented social media platform is Twitter which provides the ability to connect with anyone anywhere in the world simply by “following” and “tweeting.”

Other social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+ each bring their unique twist into the social media marketplace. It remains to be seen which platform will dominate. Facebook is #1 right now, then Twitter and then Pinterest.

Another aspect of social media that causes its usage to spread is that it constantly evolves. Case in point: micro-blogging. Micro-blogging is a newly emerging and very powerful social media platform. It is a combination of blogging and instant messaging that allows for creation of short messages, which are then posted to one’s social media profiles.

But is social media primarily a US phenomenon?

2. Social media is global and trans-cultural

Despite significant differences in government and cultural practices, the use of social media is growing internationally. While most social media platforms originated in the US, the majority of social media users are outside of the US. I know, for instance, that my native country, The Netherlands, has the largest number of users on LinkedIn.

Our behavior on social media rises above cultural and national differences throughout the world. As I mentioned, I am in a business group with people from several countries. On the other hand, the use of social media to inter-connect people locally is also growing.
So, for instance, if you want to meet-up with other graphic designers, or dog-lovers in your zip code, social media platforms are there to help it happen.

But is it mostly young people who use social media?

3. Social media is multi-generational

As with many social phenomena, youth are the first implementers. Teenagers and young adults from 15-24 are referred to as the ‘digital natives’ because they have grown up with the Internet and communicate mostly through social media (versus email and mobile phone). When we look at the future through the eyes of these young people, social media as THE communication platform is a certainty.

But it’s not only young people who are using social media. Social media is multi-generational. The fastest growing group in social media is users 55 and older. And advertisers know they can find an age-diverse audience on social media.

4. Social Media display advertising is on the rise

Advertisers seek out crowds. They want to get the widest and most targeted audience per dollar spent. Consider the degree of hoopla that surrounds ads aired during the annual Super Bowl. Companies spend millions of dollars to put their products in front of such a large audience. Many advertisers are now placing display ads on social media platforms – especially Facebook. The takeaway is that ads strategically placed on social media are effective in reaching designated audiences.

The Bottom Line:

Are you convinced as I am that social media is not only relevant, but is also becoming more and more a part of our society?

I recently read that there are 2.8 billion social media profiles on the Internet. That means that almost half of world’s population is faithful social media users! It also gives an idea of the increasing influence social media has on our personal, public and professional lives.

If social media is here to stay, then it’s essential for you and me to determine which social media platforms are relevant to better finding and serving our targeted online customers.

Let me know what you think. I always appreciate your questions and comments. 

 

 

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Comments

  1. An interesting post Olga – I’m not sure where the UK fits in to the global picture. On a personal level, social media is very much in its infancy where I live. That’s why I love the fact that I can connect and learn from people like you who are way ahead!
    Carolyn Hughes recently posted..Believing is Receiving.My Profile

  2. I’m deeply grateful for social media… your article has caused me to think back when I was a young mom… I so much wanted an older woman to mentor me. Now I’m part of a private group on Facebook of mothers and wives who all help each other with their personal families and marriages. This morning, a young mom was asking for help in naming her son… and it was such a fun time!

    While there is part of me that is overwhelmed by this fingertip access to the whole world, the other part is deeply grateful to be able to touch family and friends at the click of a mouse, no matter how separated we are by miles.

    It really boggles my mind to imagine what the future may be like… I can see why you are so excited by what you learned at the conference, Olga!

  3. I love social media and it is definitely changing! Mobile is what it’s all about. We are all portable and being able to market through social media using mobile devices is AWESOME!
    Martha Giffen recently posted..Is Twitter in Your Social Media Marketing Mix?My Profile

  4. Great post! I totally agree with you that social media is here to stay. We are in an exciting time I think, and I’m glad to be a part of it!
    Helena Bowers recently posted..Twitter Scheduling Tips for BloggersMy Profile

  5. Ronae says:

    I completely agree – its fascinating to watch my mother use social media, albeit significantly less than I do. And my children and grandchildren are growing up in a culture where they have no memory of a world before the internet or social media profiles. As social media expands, it will be interesting to see which direction(s) are most powerful moving forward.
    Ronae recently posted..Time Management for the Unorganized EntrepreneurMy Profile

  6. Social media i definitely here to stay. I agree with Gary when he says we haven’t even scratched the surface yet as to how far social media will grow. great post, Olga and glad you had such an awesome time!
    Lisa Birnesser recently posted..Dealing with Fear: Do You Trust Your Choices?My Profile

  7. Great stats! Social Media is just beginning to explode, we ain`t seen nothing yet. Those who are not on board now will be a little behind for sure. Thanks for sharing, loved it!
    Norma Doiron @Where Aspiring / Budding Business Owners Start, Grow or Strengthen Their Business Online recently posted..SEO What to Do And Not DoMy Profile

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