When Facebook started, we were all hooked. Not only could we see what our closest 300 friends were up to at any time of the day (as long as they posted it) but we could take pictures of them, pictures that they definitely didn’t like, put them online for all to see (as long as we didn’t have a limited profile) and hoped that they hadn’t worked out how to de-tag themselves.
We had fun asking Tabitha (who we hadn’t seen since taking our GCSE’s) to be our virtual friend and tried not to get upset when she not only didn’t accept us within half and hour, but had the audacity to not accept us as a ‘friend’ at all! There was SO much to share with her (after looking at her photographs to see if she was still fat – hopefully she would have an unblocked profile) and we could play games on the computer about obtaining animals and see if she would give us a chicken. LOTS of fun.
Then, once we had finally got tired of random people ‘poking’ us, someone announced that Facebook and something called Twitter (otherwise known as Social Media) actually had another purpose. A better purpose. A purpose that made more sense. We could set up accounts for our businesses, people could share it with others and our information could be seen by people all over the world! What a great idea.
Social media is now a necessity. In this digital world, people generally look at their mobile device first for information. Be it an iPhone, Blackberry, android or tablet, these devices are never far away. And be honest – how many times in the last week have you said out loud, or in your head “Ooh, I’ll just Google it”. Information is at our fingertips via the World Wide Web. It’s an encyclopedia in the sky and is available 24/7, 365 days a year. The yellow pages really is an obsolete article.
But let’s not dwell on this being a negative. Let’s view the positives. You can reach audiences for your product in your local area, in the next town and even overseas. Followers of your product on any form of social media can virtually share any aspect of your information with others at the touch of a button. If you have a niche product, someone can not only easily find what they are seeking, buy it, use it and love it, but they can also discuss it on social media with others, effectively rating it for free!
A great story: Brenda, mother-of the-bride, had found a fabulous outfit in an exclusive womenswear outlet in the sale. Her sister, Julie, (auntie-of-the-bride) had also found an outfit in the sale during her visit to stay with Brenda. One was a beautiful teal colour, one fuchsia. There were, unfortunately, no shoes to match. Julie travelled back to her home in New York. She scoured the Internet for shoes and found the perfect pair for herself. She immediately sent the link to Brenda. Brenda looked on the same site but couldn’t find the correct colour or size. She felt downhearted.
Julie then suggested looking for the company on Facebook. Brenda ‘liked’ their page, which had a section for customer comments. There she found a similar story to herself, a lady in the UK who was searching for the perfect shoes and how she had found the site wonderful. Brenda spoke via the Facebook page to this woman, who urged her to send a message via the page to the online customer service representatives. Brenda did just that, and, just 3 weeks later, received the perfect pair of shoes for her outfit at her home. She re-visited the Facebook page and left a glowing review!
Yes, a small tangible product, but nevertheless, a good example of how social media can work for even the smallest business.
I still like looking at how thin or fat my classmates are now though…