Social media is driving our lives right now. You may say that is untrue, but I say you are in denial unless you are one of those emasculated men who share a Facebook account with your wife or you are part of the 1 percent who spends little to no time online. This is 2016 and Facebook has more than one billion daily active users. One billion. Daily. Active. Users. Amazing.
When researching a business we go online first. And where online do we go? Facebook. Organizations have info about themselves there. They hand out coupon offers and information that is often relevant for the customer or potential customer. Next we do a web search. That will yield addresses, contact info, and customer reviews and testimonials. The organization that is lacking in terms of online presence is not going to get my business. Neither is the organization who's Facebook or Twitter presence seems outdated or seldom used. At that point my first thought is that they don't really care about customer interaction. My second thought is that they may be out of business already. Skip...and on to the next...competitor. Yes, you heard that right. Competitor.
Do you realize what that means? If your online presence is non-existent, outdated, or poorly constructed, your potential customers will quickly move on to your toughest competition. And by quickly I mean about 5 seconds. You don't have any significant length of time for that all-important first impression or even for customer retention.
The Big Three
If your business does not have a presence on at least the Big Two, preferably the Big Three, then you better get moving because that's where you connect the fastest with your largest customer base...no matter what business you're in. The Big Two are Facebook and Twitter. The Big Three adds LinkedIn to the mix.
Recently there was a terrorist act in Istanbul that affected a Starbucks located there. We found out the next day they were a specific target because a place like Starbucks represents the comfort and commercialism that this particular terrorist group wants to affect. The night of the event, being the interested business social media user that I am, I checked Starbucks' company Facebook page to see if they had posted anything about the event since it affected their own patrons and employees. Nothing. No “thoughts and prayers...” Nothing. That's not good business. I'm certainly not going to imply that Starbucks will lose any ground as a result, they won't be affected. But your smaller business may be.
Don't miss an opportunity to reach out to customers and employees in a time of need or national unrest. Don't miss important opportunities to connect with your public. Have a presence, respond to comments both good and bad, and do it publicly...you'll gain customers for doing that...guaranteed.
Summary / call for input
Social media appears to be here to stay. At least for quite some time. MySpace tumbled, but Facebook is too big to fall very fast. It looks to be a pretty long term gig – most of us can't imagine our lives without it and many of us connect with our favorite companies, restaurants, clothing stores, and pet shops there. Everyone wants to “like” and be “liked.” It's part of our culture now. And everything that's important can apparently also be summed up in a 140 character Twitter post. Get on board or stop playing, I guess.
Thoughts? How do you feel about social media? Is it so engrained in your life that you can't imagine what it was like before, say, Facebook was around? Have you seen anything online from the past that has paralleled such a presence? Are you a business owner or leader who is making sure they jump on the social media bandwagon?
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