You can run, you can hide, but no matter where you go – the social media revolution will find you. Social media is changing the way we do business, the way we communicate and share ideas, and even the way we think and carry out our everyday lives. Where did you get your news from this morning? TV or your Google Reader? How did you find your job? A classified ad in the newspaper or a job posting on LinkedIn?
Many of you might have run across this video in the past few weeks – but in case you haven’t, take four minutes out of your day and give it a watch – some of the information might surprise you. More discussion after the jump.
By 2010 Gen Y will outnumber Baby Boomers – 96% of them have joined a social network
First of all – this number is staggering. It means that virtually every single one of us have rocked out on Myspace, stalked our exes on Facebook, and dabbled in a tweet or two. So often we hear that ‘we are the future’ – Well, that future is right here, right now. We’re it. This is the future our parents always told us about. We represent the movers and shakers of the world, the innovators and thought leaders – a rapidly evolving swarm of tech-savvy tweet-rather-than-text-rather-than-talk individuals. If a business is wondering how to connect and communicate with our demographic, look no further than the social web. We’re out there, and we’re listening.
80% of Twitter usage is on mobile devices. People update anywhere, anytime. Imagine what that means for bad customer experiences.
Let’s remain optimistic: Imagine what it can mean for positive word of mouth. If you’re a small business who is just starting out and wondering how you’ll ever compete with the corporate big-wigs, turn to social media. It’s inexpensive and allows for a direction connection to your consumers.
If you leave a great impression with a client or customer, they have new and innovative communication tools at their disposal to get your name out there. Imagine perfecting a cup of coffee for someone who has 30,000 Twitter followers – who in turn tweets about how amazing your little-known shop is and how everyone should check it out. Talk about awesome PR – a positive review from a ‘trusted source’ to a huge audience and it cost you nothing!
That’s the power of social media that so many companies out there are striving to harness and use to drive their business. Mr. Qualman shares an interesting statistic: 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations – Only 14% trust advertisements. I think we can all agree that genuine feedback from a trusted source is much more influential that a random ad. Companies are taking notice, shifting the bill from traditional mediums to social media platforms and letting their audience of consumers do the selling for them.
I can remember the days before Myspace and Facebook, a time when Youtube ever existed, where Napster was huge and Itunes was dissed because it wasn’t free. The funny thing? None of this was that long ago – a matter of a few years – and look at how our society has changed. Technology is the first huge shift in culture that people our age can claim ownership of. The fact that we have lived and breathed this stuff since the beginning is what allows you and me to be considered ‘experts’. Social media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.
Our privacy is out the window – Erik makes a point on his blog that we should “live our online lives like mom is watching – because she probably is”. Everyone from Dunkin Donuts to the Doubletree Hotel is out there watching, listening, and observing – waiting for the right time to stage and effective approach and initiate a conversation.
The Social Media Revolution isn’t coming – it’s already here. It’s time to stop asking “how did we get here?” and start thinking about where we’re going next.