The telephone has become such a common fixture in our society that we use it without giving it a second thought. Be honest, have you ever said yourself, “I have no time to use the phone.”? Email has become a similar commonality in our everyday lives. Whether we like it or not, Social Media is on its way to entering into the same category.
You go to your favorite pizza place and check in on Four Square (www.foursquare.com). The people you are connected to on Facebook (www.facebook.com) and Twitter (www.twitter.com) see that you are at “Joe’s Pizza” and assume it is a place you enjoy visiting. Your best friend happens to be walking down the same block and, having seen your Facebook update, knows you are at Joe’s. He decides to stop in and have a slice with you. You enjoy the surprise; have some quick conversation over slices and soda then part ways to head back to work.
1) You created awareness among your sphere of influence for Joe’s pizza
2) You connected with a friend who you haven’t had the chance to chat with in a while
3) Your spirits are lifted and you return to work a little cheerier.
This is what Social Media is about. Connecting with each other in such a casual manner that it is a part of our every day conversational lives.
The advantage of Social Media for business is obvious. By having a presence in various social media Web sites, you give your customers and the opportunity to help spread the word about your business. You also give your customers and prospective customers the ability to ask questions, stay up to date on what is happening in your place of business, and offer them a level of customer support that you have never been capable of before.
The advantage of Social Media for the every day person is connections and awareness. You can now connect with people who you may not have the chance to see and talk to everyday. Your friends can stay in touch; keep up with the major and minor things going on in your life without you having to make 75 phone calls. You also, usually without realizing it, offer your recommendations to you friends by sharing where you go, and what you like and do not like about certain businesses.
We humans value connections. We love knowing. We enjoy hearing about a delightful meal out, a stellar customer service experience and having the opportunity to congratulate each other on a promotion, job well done or some other life experience. We also enjoy the opportunity to offer each other support in times of need. We like to share the “Hey I found this funny” moments, the “Have you seen this great article?” links, the videos, and photos of our kids, we post on our wall. We can also solicit advice, “Where should I go for a good hair cut?”,” What’s your favorite recipe for Irish soda bread?” and expect honest answers from those we are reaching out to.
By participating in the social networks we offer our friends and connections a glimpse into our lives. We become more “real” to them and them to us. Social Networks have become our front porches. Only in this virtual world our front porch can span from our local neighborhood to across the globe to a family in Japan who is recovering from a natural disaster. There is a certain magic in that. We are exposed to more. We see more of where we are similar and where we are not. We have the opportunity to appreciate different cultures, experiences and lifestyles by having them stream live on our computer screens.
By connecting, we offer ourselves the opportunity to know more, see more, be more and …. feel more.