You feel like expressing yourself, post it. You want to share what you are doing in real time, tweet it. You want to contact someone in your business circle, link them. You want to share your ideas/opinion, blog it. With the increase in the need to stay in touch with each other in real time, be it your professional life or personal, a lot of options are available. You don’t need to be an expert to use these things. You just need to register with them using your email id.
Well before the concept of social media, people have reacted to content. Word of mouth was simply that: people spread the word to each other by talking (talking was an ancient method of communication where two or more people stood in the same room, and then by things called telephones where we used voices to convey messages back and forth.) it sounds crazy now but back then it was the in thing to do.
Then came email. We could now tell multiple people without having to re-tell the story and if we really wanted to be the talk of the town, we’ll simply “CC” everyone, so all the replies went back to everyone again! The “tell-a-friend” script became popular until people started abusing it and it was a great way to get your domain blacklisted.
It was an awesome time to be in the business of sending email to spread the word. Rocking 90% open rates, almost 100% delivery and click-throughs that would make kittens cry with joy. Then spam took it up a notch, everything went into the crapper and now getting an email even to your mom is tough.
Which brings us to today. In a report, the Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s thoughts on how we communicate was published. She says that only 11% of teens check their email daily.
Now, we can argue that it’s just teens doing that, and the sooner they get off your lawn, the better, but think about it for a second. How do you spread the word about something you’ve just read/seen online? Do you want to call up every single person in your contact list and repeat the same thing or do you want to email them “CCing” everyone and then wait for their reply?
Take it from a company’s point of view. Earlier company’s never spent money for the marketing of their product/service. They worked on the premise that since their product/ service is good people will automatically buy that. But then came the turning point. A lot of companies came and offered the same services. But though the number of companies increased, the market size is still the same. As a result the companies came up with various schemes and marketing strategies to differentiate their product and sell them. So how does one choose which company to go for? They turn to people who have already used or are using those services.
So how can companies make sure their company or their product/ service is talked about? That it reaches people who are located outside of their company’s main location? The answer-Social media. Everyone who has anything to share, be it their personal experience or their opinion, they want to let others know and they want to do it before anyone else. Be it a good experience or bad they want others to know that they have done it and this is how they feel about it. This is where the organizations say their benefit. Although it has backfired for many but overall it has proved to be a boon for them. There is a new product post it on Facebook or tweet it on Twitter. People who see them, irrespective of the fact whether they like it or no, will let others know.
Word of mouth has changed and is still changing. Before, we had to go through our “list” and pick who to email something to. Now, a lot of people simply share it on Facebook, or click “Like” or tweet it. It’s not “Who would be interested?” anymore, it’s “This interests me” and the audience/followers/friends are the ones who filter it for you.
But one thing hasn’t changed… the “Why” people spread content.
People don’t go running, screaming about something that is “ok”. People don’t spread mediocrity. People spread great stuff. People spread emotion. Look at what gets shared on Facebook, or retweeted on Twitter. Funny stuff, brilliant knowledge-filled posts, sad things, stuff that angers you. Bottom line-
People. Spread. Emotion.
Take a stand. Have an opinion. Believe in something and then become the catalyst for a discussion around it. THEN make it easy for people to spread it with sharing buttons, like Sociable. Create great content, and it will be the best SEO, viral, word-of-mouth “tactic” you could ever invest in.
Some people may argue with the fact that social media is more of a distraction than any actual help. But lets look at it from another point of view. How else can you spread the word around? Meetings? Mails? Sending gifts with your company’s logo? Fax machines? A company spends more on the travel expenses and paper than it actually does on social media marketing. Social media can
- Answer questions about your product/ service
- Educate consumers
- Offer follow-ups with your customers
- Helping in surveying the market
- Discuss things with other people in the same industry
Hope this answers any doubt about the ROI of the social media.