The number of texts sent and received every day exceeds the Earth’s population! It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million people, yet Facebook added 100 million users in less than 9 months! If Facebook were a country, it would be the fourth largest country in the world, after the U.S. Ashton Kutcher and Ellen DeGeneres have more Twitter followers than the entire population of Ireland, Norway and Panama! These astounding facts were published recently in the YouTube video, “The Social Media Revolution.” The world of social media is exploding, bringing people to people and businesses to people in a way never before imagined-and it’s having a profound effect!
Social media is no longer a casual social interaction. Businesses nationwide are jumping into the arena, not merely to gain the ear and attention of their constituents and clients, but more importantly, to create one-on-one relationships with the public at large. 10 Day Publicity is a communications agency in Phoenix, Arizona that has extended its general advertising/public relations to include social media services.
Troy Bohlke, the owner and founder of 10 Day Publicity states, “It’s only when I noticed the potential of social media, that I realized that as an ad agency, I wanted not only to embrace what corporate America was doing, but master it and offer it as a valuable and viable service to my clients.”
Social media combines technology with social interaction to create or co-create value. Creating a virtual shift in how people discover, read, and share news, information and content. This fusion of sociology and technology has literally transformed the monologue of internet communication into the instantaneous dialog of a linked community.
It quickly and effectively shares profiles, opinions, insights, experiences, perspectives and media itself, via such venues as: Flickr, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Orkut, Bebo, MySpace, Hulu and YouTube. YouTube is now the second largest search engine in the world, with more than 100 million videos and growing.
Most networks facilitate conversations and interactions online between established groups, giving them the potential of unprecedented influence and power within the consumer market. Advertising campaigns can literally succeed or die in the momentous pressing of “send”. Two major ad campaigns met their fate in the fall of 2008. Twitter users attacked and killed the new J&J Motrin Mom’s Campaign, and bloggers bombed and destroyed Germany’s Pepsi Max Campaign. Both were squashed immediately: One the first weekend and the other after the first issue of the ad.
Eighty percent of Twitter usage takes place on mobile devices, providing consumers the ability to broadcast news anywhere, anytime. As the number of “followers” and “friends” increases exponentially, it is likely that a business can plummet for poor customer service before the customer pays the bill.
At of the end of 2008, there were over 200 million bloggers, 54 percent of whom posted content or tweeted daily and 34 percent of whom posted opinions about products or brands. Add the fact that 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations more than traditional advertising, and today’s businesses have a real challenge on their hands. But if a business uses it responsibly and effectively, social media can catapult a business ahead of its competition.
“Not many owners are aware of today’s shift in communication and what it can do for their business,” states Bohlke. “Social media has the potential of accomplishing what no other media has in the past: In numbers, message and effect. We encourage all our clients to utilize this powerful tool, not so much for advertising, but to develop trusted relationships within their public niche.”
To accomplish his goal with social media, Bohlke and 10 Day Publicity joined with Lon Safko and David K. Brake, authors of The Social Media Bible.
“Aside from the fact that we can offer more personalized attention to our clients because we are small, we are being trained by the social media experts themselves,” says Bohlke.
The Social Media Biblesold out in six major cities in only four days. It also ranked 21stin “Top 100 Best Selling Books in America,” two weeks in a row.
Scott Monty, the head of social media for Ford, says, “We’re not interested in advertising on social networks. We’re interested in getting in there and interacting with people.”
In an interview, Monty declared, “Social media is not a campaign, but a commitment. businesses can, and should use these networks for, in order to grow an active and interactive audience.”
“Companies the world over are starting to dabble in social media-they have to or they will be left behind,” says Heidi Alexandra Pollard, Chairwoman for the Professional Communication Network.
In a recent survey of 880 people, nearly 81% admitted that their social media efforts generated business exposure, and more than half claimed that social media tactics generated leads.
The benefits of online social networking seem to hold even greater promise than face-to-face social networking, or conventional marketing. For example, business owners are primarily investing time instead of precious dollars. For another, they can reach beyond the limitations of geography in gaining awareness and generating leads. Finally, the potential for online referrals is enormous.
“This is a dream come true for our company,” Bohlke explains. “Being able to offer the expertise of such an overwhelming and critical aspect of this kind of PR is exactly what is putting our small boutique over the edge.”
Online socializing may be a radically different method of marketing. But in the future, it could very well be the preferred method of marketing, one-on-one, throughout the world. It certainly is taking force and gaining speed with each passing day.