Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Social Media + Businesses = A Two Way Street

Social media has certainly changed the way companies relate to their customers, but what about those who have yet to feel that Social Media is relevant to their business?

Prior to the creation of Facebook, YouTube, StumbleUpon, and Twitter, businesses used the way in which they reached customers as a "One Way Street," because it was the only option available to them. Billboards, Commercials, and Newspaper Ads, were what companies used to communicate their products and services. There wasn't a way, publicly, that a customer could react, share, and express their thoughts about being a customer, without feeling that they hadn't been heard.

Many people are not wanting their questions answered by an automated system, customer service center, or by a clerk working in a store, anymore. They want to have the ability for their voices to be heard by the company itself. People want to know what their friends or what other people have experienced from a company. They want to be referred to a business, by their family members or online communities. The reasons being, is that they have built relationships with them and feel comfortable enough with their judgment. How do they do this? Through using Social Media sites.

Customers can share their thoughts and opinions about companies with millions, if not billions of other customers or potential customers. It's as simple as turning on a computer, signing into an account and updating a status or making a 140 character tweet. Consumers can create a video review or a blog post about an experience with a business, they can upload a photo of a product they purchased to a social media site and state how well or not so well that product has proven to be.

Now-a-days, with the ability to use Social Media, businesses have been given a second option in which to reach their customers, by allowing "A Two Way Street." Having your business become apart of Social Media, will not only help in relating to customers, it can also allow for you to keep in contact with what is being said about your business online. You can react in a timely manner, help customers quickly and promptly, as well as, let your customers know what makes your company unique and stand out from your competitors. It also allows customers to feel empowered and able to feel confident in expressing their true feelings, with an outlet they had not yet been given by your business before. This can all be created without spending thousands of dollars. It's important to note, that customers never really cared about how much your business spent on banner ads or billboards, but what they do care about, is how much time you spend getting to know what they want and need from your business.

Unfortunately, if your business has not yet taken the steps to become apart of Social Media, then it is still on a "One Way Street". The difference is, this time, it's your voice not being heard, but that of your consumers. No matter how much you share your billboards, commercials, and ads, your business' voice is being drowned out by that of your customers on Social Media Sites. Becoming apart of Social Media, allows your business and customers, both have voices and the chance to be heard.

In knowing that Social Media changes the way companies communicate, interact, and engage with customers, there are still some who feel that Social Media isn't relevant to their business. Do you think businesses should only use Social Media if it is relevant to their business or do you feel that businesses need to use Social Media in order to be relevant?

Written By: Amanda Ryan, Creature Creations, Personalized Photo Gifts


  1. Businesses need to understand the purpose of social media beyond advertising channels. Over saturation of ads, along social media streams, can push people away. It can make a company seem faceless and cold.

    It's a great communication tool for customer service and engagement. It can give customers a stake in shaping a business' success. It can be used to develop trust between customers and the company. It can be a great way to keep people involved in what's happening.

    But if a company uses it to just talk and not actually listen, then it might as well just be static.

  2. Excellent points!! It's so true that companies need to open up a bit more to let their customers in, for it's what you DO or DON'T Do that will keep people coming back for more (or not)and it's always been highly important to be where "your" customers are ... which, today, is on... Social Media sites! Thanks Mongo for such great insight :) - Amanda R.

  3. All good points, but I think you will just drive yourself silly, if you have your hear to the ground all day. Managing that strem of chatter can be a skill all of it's own. You can't and won't please everyone. Not if but when you get haters, thats when you need to perk up. Is what they are saying just mean, or is there a real issue you need to take care of.
    When not if your fanboys start shouting prasies, then you need to perk up and find out why, and give little thank you.

    but before all of that happens.

    First worry about making the best products you can, then worry about makeing them better. It's not a race, so be patient, and it's not pyramid, we call all be winners.
    It's a very good time to be your own boss, but being your own boss also means being your only employee.

    I've seen a lot of buisness fail, and a lot of startups eager to get going.
    Just be awesome and people will start talking. You can do it.