Friday, November 20, 2009

We were all Social Media sceptics a year ago…

Social media sceptics are undeniably decreasing in number - the success of SM this year has generated enough proof to convert those that remain...

A year ago (and this is certainly true for British readers of this blog) Twitter was relatively unheard of. Whilst this statement is undeniable true, the fact that the social network is now so firmly entrenched in our daily lives and routines makes it difficult to imagine a time when we were sceptical about social media.

Nevertheless, as little as twelve months ago, many members of the marketing community claimed that social media was a fad and had little relevance for business, branding and networking. How wrong they were.

As 2009, undeniably the ‘Year of Twitter’, draws to a close, the digital marketing landscape is irrevocably different. Social media now dominates the digital marketing landscape for a number of reasons. For one, social media marketers now have a year’s further experience under their belt. Secondly, the channel is an excellent remedy to marketing budgets that have been constricted by the recession. Finally – and perhaps most importantly – it works.

Brands are now more connected and close to their consumers before – or rather, consumers are now more empowered. Brand relationships have become more intimate, purely due to the role social media has played.

To list an example from personal experience, I was looking for a particular book from Waterstones. Rather than go down the traditional route of looking at FAQs on the website, trying vainly to find an appropriate contact, emailing a ‘customer services’ address and then waiting days for a human response after an automated one had informed me my query would be ‘dealt with as soon as possible’, I looked to Twitter.

I found the Waterstones Twitter page in fifteen seconds, asked them a question and had a response (the one I was looking for) within ten minutes. Great customer service and a much more personal relationship between brand and consumer.

I agree with social media sceptics on one issue – you cannot build an entire marketing strategy around social media. However, when done right, social media is an essential value-add for your business that builds intimate relationships and strengthens your offering tenfold. We’ve come a long way in a year – and the ensuing twelve months will surely turn any remaining sceptics into social media converts.

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