The side effects of not considering a social media program for your business may include dry mouth, sweating, indigestion and a loss of revenue from customers who use mobile devices. Even if you still call them cell phones, if you have more than four of them in your household, chances are good you’re on Twitter. And now, one-in-five Americans update their “status” online. If they update their status, they’re likely talking about a lot more things as well. There is a genuine business need to be part of the conversation.
New research from September 2009 from the Pew Internet Project shows that 19 percent of all Internet users now update their online status using Twitter or a similar social network. That is up 9 percent from 11 months ago. And the more mobile devices in a household, the more likely it is that they are using Twitter. This may lull you into a false sense of security that you do not need to be part of a real-time social network where people talk about what they had for breakfast.
What Did You Have For Breakfast?
A big joke among the Tweeple (people on Twitter) is that we are thankful for people thinking that this is what we are talking about: It keeps other people off our beloved Twitter. The truth is that today alone, I used Twitter to resolve a cable TV question, chatted with another voice-over artist, learned about new analytics possibilities in social media, discussed analysis of new economic trends, and learned how methods of conducting an orchestra is incredibly pertinent to business management . If you just “follow” the “tweets” of people who actually ADD VALUE to your day, social media can make a real difference to you and your business.
I also helped customers connect, learn more about products that they had questions about, and cut through some red tape. By being available on Twitter, these customers had access to a live person where THEY were. They didn’t have to come to our web site. They know they have access to people with information via Twitter. Reaching out to them just became one of our competitive advantages.
The 18-44 age group is now rediscovering Twitter and are looking for the same thing we all want: relevant content at our fingertips. And they want to reach out to businesses and friends alike.
Social media, be it using Facebook, Twitter or Friendfeed is becoming what the telephone was through early 80s: Our primary communications tool. Even e-mail is starting to feel so 2001. The big difference, Google, Bing and Yahoo! are there to make the good and bad words available in search results. And with the increased mobility, people will share things AS they feel them.
If this isn’t enough reason to have a listening post to the chatter and a way of reaching out, maybe this will help influence you:
New Term: mCommerce
It’s not enough that social media is the new telephone. The new mobile devices are doing some amazing things, and prices are coming down. All the major social media networks are continuing their push toward mobility and will help fuel an explosion in mobile commerce applications, or mCommerce.
Social media and blogging content affects peoples’ buying behaviors. Research shows that we would rather accept the word of someone we don’t know over a salesperson. Social media is generally taking the word of someone who we do have some history with, and who can greatly affect purchasing habits, even if we have never met them in person. Over the summer I was looking for an outdoor grill. In the store, I started searching Google on my Blackberry for customer reviews, which ultimately drove my decision.
Some new mobile applications allow you use the camera on the device to take a photo of the bar code of a product – and then comparison shop while you are in another store. Soon you will be able to buy it that way as well.
Simply, buying from your phone is mCommerce. And this is coming much faster than you think. There are already ways to buy food, beverages and transportation tickets from your phone, so don’t be surprised at what’s coming up, be ready.
It’s time to take a seat at the table, pick up the phone and start being social. There was a time that last sentence would not have made sense. Now it can make dollars.