I’ve been fascinated by all the buzz and hype surrounding the topic of social media. When I decided I wanted a blog to go along with my website, I didn’t realize that I was ahead of the curve. I wanted a blog to share ideas and educate.
Over the past year or two companies and consultants have popped up that specialize in helping others develop social media programs. Helping companies learn what social media is, where it is, how it works and how to engage in social media is very similar to helping companies learn about and understand advertising, marketing or any number of related business disciplines.
What’s all the hype? Let’s look at the facts from my point of view. Social media is not for every company or every professional. The four main social media sites are Face Book, Twitter, Linked In and blogs. Face Book has some value and I believe there are strategies for companies to promote themselves and get involved in various conversations on Face Book. But seriously, Face Book is for family and friends. People that I observe who are fans of Face Book are rarely using it for business. There are more potential threats with Face Book than value for business in my opinion.
Twitter is just that. I’m embarrassed for some that use this format of communications to share personal things and professional acts that have no value to the readers. I wouldn’t say it’s a total waste of time, but close. Save the tweet, no one cares.
Linked In however, is a powerful business information engine and resource. There’s many ways to use Linked In and it adds value to my work, my time and my ability to help others every day. Linked In is easy to use and can be a powerful Social Media tool.
Blogs are web logs. A place for people to comment, share events, experiences and education. Video plays well in Blogs and You Tube has captured the essence of using video to entertain, communicate and educate. Personally I think having a strategy for using video is a better investment in time and money than social media and they are connected. Video is a stronger driver of Search Engine Optimization than Social Media.
Over the past year, I’ve asked several Social Media experts to demonstrate for me and show me what value they’ve created for their clients. So far no one has been able to show me the value. I’m still waiting and will probably be waiting, perhaps because my expectations equal the hype. If it’s all that, show me where it’s at. Having a profile and listing in one of the various social media databases (that’s really what they are), is easy and no big deal.
I do appreciate the exponential level of information and knowledge power I’ve seen at www.Mashable.com. This is the premiere website for social media information.
Technology is moving so quickly it is impossible to keep up. What you heard, see and read is only a small percentage of what’s happening behind the scenes related to information technology.
Social Media needs to be recognized. In the Friday May 14th edition of the Wall Street Journal, there is a story on Procter and Gamble highlighting allegations that its’ new Pampers product creates rashes and leaks. The sub-headline says, “Company Staunchly Defends New Pampers as Allegations of Rashes, Leaks Find Traction on the Web.” That’s some serious stuff for P & G. Pampers makes up $8.5 billion dollars of P & G’s total $79 billion in revenue. P & G changed the formula and application for absorption and pissed off thousands of moms. One mom started a Face Book page titled, “Pampers Bring Back the Old Cruisers/Swaddlers and in one week it went from 3,500 fans to 7,000 fans. That’s what I call going “viral”. It’s also social. And it’s now the new media.
People across the world are now connected. The World Wide Web is definitely gaining momentum and more and more people are getting into the conversation via whatever social media outlet suits their needs. For me it’s Linked In and Blogs. For others it’s Twitter and Face Book, plus another two dozen specific applications known as social media.
From my perspective, my job is to educate my clients on Social Media so they can make good choices and if they so choose, develop a communications strategy to monitor the various Social Media sites and participate in the conversation. Today and in the past advertising was a paid form of Social Media. Public Relations is a paid form of Social Media also. Creating a website is a paid form of Social Media. Taking time to visit, read, monitor and write for Face Book, Twitter or Linked In is a paid form. Time is money. Where do you want to spend your time?