Trade Show TalesBlog

Word on the Street — August 10th thru August 14th

August 14th, 2009 5 COMMENTS
Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

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.

Business Perspective

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.

Be Well!

–Kevin Carty
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a

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5 Responses to “Word on the Street — August 10th thru August 14th”

  1. Lara Davie says:

    I find FB to be a great tool. Many of my customers are also on FB and we often chat online during the day. It also gives me the opportunity to get to know my customers better. I think that is a huge benefit to having and sharing my FB page with them.

    It has also opened up a line of new business for me by connecting me to old friends. They learn what my profession is and now have someone who they trust that they can go to when the need arises.

  2. Tess Smith says:

    Okay, I’ve bought in – Facebook to keep up with family. LInkedIn and Plaxo for business, but for the life of me, I can’t see a real purpose, and I barely have time to get my necessary work done – Twitter? Please. Who cares what I am doing every minute? What does LinkedIn do for you?

  3. Jewel says:

    Kevin,

    Great post! I’m very active on Social Media sites. Being in a sales/marketing function, they have benefitted me both personally and professionally. I find that the networking opportunities afforded by Twitter & Linkedin have trumped cocktails at the local chamber. I’m able to cultivate relationships on a personal level, that then progress to doing business together. Of course, this doesn’t happen instantly. It happens over time, as with any other relationship. I’m eager to read other responses.

  4. Kevin says:

    Tess,
    I agree that it can be difficult to balance social media and regular work. Actually, if you have my personality, it is impossible without drastic measures.
    I agree, FB is for family and close friends (business or otherwise).
    Twitter…how do adress that one?? Well, I am not the best “Twit” so to speak, but I use it constantly for business and personal interests. Whether it be to follow a useful link for something business related or to catch little bits of info on things I am personally interested in…then look at them during non-work hours

    For business though, I am all over LinkedIn all day. Not a big poster of topics personally, but and avid reader. Great tool for keeping in touch with what is happening in the EDPA and TSEA for example. It really is the way I keep up daily with what is happening in the industry and related industries.

    thanks for commenting!

    Kevin

  5. Kevin says:

    Thanks for replying Jewel!

    It must be said that Jewel is my hero when it comes to blogging. I do not know how she does it. She posts something new EVERYDAY! 365 days a year. On two blogs that she writes. http://www.thetinyjewelbox.blogspot.com/ and http://wbx.me/l/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thingsinpink.blogspot.com
    Our meeting is a great example of how Twitter can be effective. . .Jewel works for and has worked for a Distributor of Classic’s for sometime, yet we never met.
    Thru Twitter, we met one day earlier this year, now I read her blog daily when I get up in the morning

    But to your point, Jewel, regarding Social Media replacing drinks at the Chamber mixers. I agree for the most part. Only I do not necessarily think they relace them…rather, could it not make them even more beneficial? Say you meet someone thru a local business group on LinkedIn. You now have the opportunity to get to know them a bit better prior to that mixer, therefore not walking into the social event totally cold.

    thanks again for commenting

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