A new friend on Twitter, Christine Taylor, or MouseWords as I know her on Twitter (if you are on Twitter you should friend Christine!), recently asked me a few questions after I live-Twittered the birth of my third kid…
A daughter, born January 11!
I’m going to dig (that’s dig with a single ‘g’) into the whole social media question more in the coming weeks and thought these questions were as good a place as any for me to get started…
Why Twitter our child’s birth:
This was our third child and one of the things that we noticed the first two times through was that there were always people we forgot to phone right away.
Social media provided a great way to remedy the problem.
From my cell phone I uploaded images to my flickr account, and sent regular updates via twitter.
It turned out to be a great way to include our family and friends (new and old) through the whole process without having to worry about who to call next!
An unexpected side benefit was the fact that it was really exciting for us to read the real-time encouragement and congratulations sent back to us via facebook and twitter (funnelled back to my phone via text messaging).
We were really happy with how it turned out and happy to share with everyone!
What is your opinion of Social Media’s influence on society in general?
For the general public, Social Media provides a variety of great and fun tools to stay connected with friends and family as well as connect with lost friends and acquaintances. I think SM services are getting more savvy all the time and we’re going to see more and more platforms that ‘do it all’, which will be a good thing; preventing us from having to log into 10 different sites to check up on all our friends.
From a business point of view, Social Media is becoming more and more valuable as more of the general public integrates their lives in the social web. SM is quickly changing the way we look at and think about media and its influence on our buyers.
Look at it this way… When most people make a purchase, it’s an emotional decision, and logic generally only enters to justify the transaction. As a company, we need to connect with our customers more powerfully than our competitors have in order to create a brand loyalty that will see people through a transaction. The better the connection we’ve made, the greater the emotional tie people have to our brands; and social media provides incredible ways to communicate and connect directly with the people who are already looking for us.
I like to tell people that in the wild pre-internet days companies would communicate with their customers via ads, in print, TV or radio; a communication style that isn’t unlike standing on top of a soapbox and yelling through a bullhorn, hoping your voice will be heard by the right people. All the advances, and globalization of TV and Radio that occurred by the end of the last century didn’t change any of that… they just provided bigger and bigger bullhorns to yell at audiences through.
But SM HAS changed all that. Social networks and social media and the internet in general allow us to find the people who are already interested in us and our products; talk to our customers one-on-one; and even proactively find disgruntled or dissatisfied customers instantly!
SM will likely never replace the 30 second spot (TV commercial), but any company that doesn’t invest a little time and energy to at least BE where their customers are, are going to find themselves losing out to their more savvy competition who realize Social media is an increasingly integral part of any marketers toolbox.