Social Media. . . Just a Fad? Administrative Crack Maybe . . . but It’s Clearly NOT a Fad!
OK, nobody’s looking, so you’re safe — Raise your hand if you have a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or MySpace account. If your hand is not up, then you are either lying or you are reading this on paper because you still haven’t figured out how to turn on a computer.
While I will concede that many of these, especially MySpace and Facebook, started primarily as fads over the past few years, times have clearly changed. So much so that they are affecting other mediums as well.
Did you know that ESPN just this week banned all its on-air and print talent from talking sports on Twitter and other Social Media sites? It’s true! The thought being, if they are breaking sports news in Tweets or Facebook updates and I read them there, then why would I need to watch Sportscenter.
Personally, I have a Twitter account, a LinkedIn account and yes, a Facebook page. If you had asked me about these sites a year ago, I would have laughed and said, “Heck no!” Now, I even write a weekly blog post. And I am clearly not the only one. Let me site some facts I recently read online at Socialnomics.com.
Social Media Facts
- If Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s 4th largest between the United States and Indonesia
- Years to reach 50 millions users: Radio (38 Years), TV (13 Years), Internet (4 Years), iPod (3 Years). Facebook added 100 million users in less than 9 months. iPhone applications hit 1 billion in 9 months
- % of companies using LinkedIn as a primary tool to find employees — 80%
- There are over 200,000,000 blogs
- 34% of bloggers post opinions about products and brands
- 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations
- People care more about how their social graph ranks products and services than how Google ranks them
There are many, many more that will stagger you. When you have 4-5 minutes to spare, check out this video on YouTube: http://tinyurl.com/qlpfln.
So, from a business perspective, is there value to be found in these trending numbers? I think there clearly is. In a weird way, I would suggest that we are “coming full circle” – back before traditional print, TV and radio were the main forms of corporate advertising. Social Media provides a “Word-of-Mouth” advertising that costs nothing, and is often 100% better than any paid ad on Google could ever give you in return.
Depending on your age, ask your parents, grandparents or great grandparents about Word-of-Mouth. I think you will find that Word-of-Mouth was the most powerful form of advertising then, and it is becoming the dominate form now.
I review LinkedIn several times a day. I do not contribute as much as I would like to, but I read posts all day long. I could argue that I learn more there than I do in a three-day stint on the show floor at EXHIBITOR Show. Not to imply that tradeshows have lost their relevance. They have not! People still want to go, touch, feel, and learn. However, LinkedIn provides controlled information from the standpoint that I am in control of what I read and learn.
I do think there are inherent dangers involved of course. Social Media can easily become a time and human resources black hole for a company. The Social Media Addiction is a very real thing. Many companies have banned or blocked virtually all Social Networking sites from their internal networks. And I think for good reason. While I see the value on many levels, I am not sure that each job description really needs to have access to such sites.
So, I know many of you have your own Social Media accounts, blogs, and sites. How have they impacted how you do business? Have they impacted how you do business? Do you see them as valuable business tools?
Please comment and let me know.
Have a great and restful weekend.