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Social media for business

Let’s look at a few facts about the world today from a social computing perspective. Social computing has gone mainstream. When you consider the sheer number of people who are actively participating in social media and social networking every day it is no longer the early adopter. When your grandparents start doing something it is probably

Google handles over 235 million searches a day

If your business wants to be found this is the new yellow pages

Twitter hits 5 billion tweets
45-54 year olds are the top demographic followed closely by 25-34 year olds
US site visits per month > 260 million
More than 24 million people in US alone visit per month

Twitter is the new home of breaking news & buzz

Facebook growing by over 700,000 users a day
30 million users update their statuses at least once each day
900 million photos are uploaded to the site
1 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) are shared each week each month

I think it’s time to call this one mainstream

A mere recitation of facts is not very interesting. But the facts remain, social computing has become mainstream and we need to work out how to incorporate it effectively into our business planning and marketing.

The traditional marketing model – a monologue comprising TV advertisements, print advertisements and a series of promotions – is breaking down before our eyes.

In its place something else is evolving, I’m not sure what it is, but I am sure that it socially oriented and based on dialogue.

The old marketing model was based on monologue and it was hard to both talk or listen to customers. Communication tended to be expensive and somewhat unreliable in its returns. We used fairly primitive proxies to obtain feedback from customers, such as focus groups and surveys. None was terribly effective.

Now with social channels we can obtain immediate and direct feedback. With the right technology we can track behaviour from the call to action all the way through to purchase and beyond.

The new saviour for all of us is to be the Cluetrain with its two way conversational model that is going to be cheaper, faster, better. But I’m still not so sure about this being possible unless we build it into our business plans and into the way we use these social channels.