Social Media Networking has changed the way people gather information, make decisions and share this information and experiences with others online.
Social Media sites are the places providing the interaction we make on websites like:
In fact, this form of communication has been around for a long time in the form of discussion boards and guestbooks. It has simply been popularised by more interactive user interfaces and advancements in technology.
Most people are interacting to some degree with social media and it is becoming part of our daily life. Potential customers are using it to validate products or services, get impartial reviews, see how companies deal with customers; all before making that purchase. Companies that have integrating social media into their business are now in touch with their (potential) customers, 24/7. They know what is working, what is not working, are able to interact and provide advise and after sales support.
Others are able to see this interaction as well!
How companies interact with and deal with social media is a critical part of their future and like everything, the correct mindset is the best place to start. This is the start of social business.
Have a look at this very interesting video showing the extent of social media penetration:
For social media to really start working for a company, the company should embrace it and make it part of daily business. It's how a company will be found, recommended and therefore gain new business.
This morning, Joe, a potential customer, accesses your website to find out more about a product or service you offer. He finds the product he wants but has not used your company before and is unsure of the service or product.
He decides to see if there are any reviews on your company or product and decides to look at your Facebook page and review sites. User feedback is deemed as impartial validation and is more trustworthy than anything a company can say about its product/service, i.e. advertising.
As a result of the feedback Joe found, he buys the product and then tweets about the whole experience to tell his friends and followers.
An employee in your company tweets back, thanking Joe for his feedback. This further improves the customer experience as is seen as interactive after sales service.
The data about the product, the social media used and the feedback status is all logged in the company's CMS, and available to help the company make decisions about future product development.
This is how a company can turn social media networking into social business. social media integration is more than just a Facebook and Twitter account and their linking to the company website - it's a change in the company ethos.
Once a company embraces social media and starts to use it to benefit the customers, then that business is starting down the road of social business. With social business, customers interact with the brand and send valuable information to the company to use for future improvements or innovations.
Social business is the opportunity for existing and future customers to choose to receive your product/service information. This interaction is increasingly done from their mobile phones, which means your brand is literally in their hands, 24/7.
Social media or Web 2.0 marketing has developed exponentially, Facebook is now bigger than Google, YouTube is bigger than Yahoo! This means that these Web 2.0 marketing sites have the means of driving more traffic to your website than the big search engines. The third party reviews help people choose your product and location based services help them find you.
How much money does a company spend on surveys, usability studies, etc?
With Social Business, this information is shared by customers as part of their daily activity.
People want to interact. Few like completing a survey.
Two Fat Fingers designs interactive Facebook Fan pages that engage visitors from the start.