Will this be the death of the insanely cute Otto and Daisy photos?
I have been doing a lot of research lately on Social Networking and its effects on business and marketing. People can and clearly do write about this at length, but the nuts and bolts is that for a business to be competitive in today's market place they need to be active on the internet. And not just actively selling, but they need to find ways to communicate and interact with their customers via the internet. Customers now want to be engaged by businesses. They want a business to be part of their social network.
And beyond that, businesses now need to be more attentive to their customers. In the past, if a customer was upset or received bad service, they might write a letter, make a phone call or tell a friend or two. Now, they can post a comment on facebook that ALL their 'friends' will see. Or they can go to the company's Facebook page and all the business's 'fans' can see the comment (and if you're someone like Starbuck that's over 18 MILLION (yes MILLION) people). Or perhaps the complainee has a blog. They can blog about the bad service. If it's a blog with many followers, it could get passed around. Or maybe it's a tweet, that gets retweeted adnauseum. Stephen Colbert had the most retweeted tweet of 2010 - 44,000 retweets! Something retweeted 44,000 times is probably seen by over 6,000,000 people.
What I have been learning, is that all of this will completely change the way we do business in the future. Businesses will no longer be able to push products or services out to customers. Instead, the customers will speak and businesses will now need to find them and listen and adapt to their desires, if they want to keep their business strong and profitable.
Let's view a micro example. A couple weeks ago, I became completely enamored with a bamboo 'white' board and blogged about it. So that company got free advertising amongst my 100s of (okay 2? 3?) blog readers. And, this is actually better than advertising, because my regular blog readers know me and my opinions and presumably trust them (right? I'm the bomb). So, they are more likely to take my advice than that of a regular ad.
Then, I posted a link of this blog on the bamboo board company's facebook page. Additionally, the company's owner gave a shout out about my blog on the FB page. So now, not only does the company's product get an endorsement that all the company's FB fans will see, but my blog gets a little what what, twice! Then, if anyone who is a fan of that company likes or comments on my link, then all their friends will see my blog and that product. So far, two likes (not including me and Otto) and one comment. The average FB user has 140 friends, the business has 646 fans, so, if you're doing the math that's over 1,000 people (1066 to be exact) potentially exposed to my blog and a positive review of that product. Going viral baby!
Woah Nellie! That's a lot of people exposed to my blog. I'd better work at making it not just something my mother would love. Oh, lord, can I only blog about pithy matters? What about Otto and Daisy? Oh, so much stress!