A Simple Reason Why You Should Participate in Social Media

As more people become active in social media communities, individuals can become influencers in the space. Even if your company is not contributing to the conversations online it does not mean your customers or employees are ignoring them as well.

Consider this example on Twitter:
This past Monday, Gary Vaynerchuk – “GaryV” – of Wine Library TV had this to say about a company experience:

Twitter Update

If someone emails 10 friends to tell them of the awful experience they had or posts a complaint on a message board it’s difficult to justify the time required to find and resolve the issue. You certainly want to address it but how can you possibly monitor everything, everywhere, all the time.

Social media changes everything. Consider that over 12,000 people may have read “GaryV”s update. Individuals are congregating and conversing en masse in social media communities like Twitter. And being influenced on their buying decisions.

There’s no longer just the phone conversation about your customer’s disappointment; or a group of friend’s email addresses; or even just an instant messenger window.

There are real people, talking about your brand, with a greater individual reach than companies could ever imagine.

Think about some of these social media numbers:

  • According to Twitterholic, the Top 100 Twitter users have over 1.2 million total followers, an average of 12,039 followers per user.
  • Social media news sites like Digg or Reddit may send thousands of unique visitors from popular submissions.
  • According to LinkedIn’s home page, “Over 25 million professionals use LinkedIn to exchange information, ideas and opportunities”.
  • Over 9,000 people are “fans” of the Twitter page on Facebook and Twitter doesn’t even actively use that page.

People will talk online about their experiences with a company, products, service, or brand; good or bad. The real question is if you are listening to the conversation.

Two Examples of Companies Invested in Social Media
Over the past few weeks, I’ve personally been influenced by companies engaging in social media as a communication strategy to their customers and users. I asked these 2 questions on Twitter:

Twitter Update on 7/13/2008

Twitter Update on 7/25/2008

In both instances I was pleasantly surprised to receive a response back from the company profile on Twitter (Mozilla Firefox & Tweetdeck), offering assistance or advice on how to address the issue from the company (Thank you @firefox_answers and @tweetdeck).

What did it take to find and acknowledge my questions?

  • A regular check on the company’s brand and keywords using a Twitter monitoring tool like Twitter search; maybe set up in an RSS reader or Google Alert.
  • The willingness to answer and address the issue, even when the answer may not have been immediately available.
  • A small investment in time

I would not have thought twice about it if neither company contacted me. But the fact that they did made a positive impression.

I only have 400 followers on Twitter and fewer RSS subscribers than that to this blog. Far from where someone like Gary Vaynerchuk is (in terms of online visibility). But I’m glad my issue mattered – and I am writing about these positive experiences as a result.

Final Thoughts
Company owners may argue whether social media should be a component of their online marketing strategy. They debate the perceived value of the time required. Even if you do not embrace social media as a business strategy, it’s ill advised to ignore the conversations happening around you.

For a look at other major brands and companies embracing social media, take a look at Whole Foods, Comcast and even ExxonMobile for examples and success stories.

And if you’d like to follow me, I’m @dedmond29 on Twitter.


3 Responses to “A Simple Reason Why You Should Participate in Social Media”

  1. Gary Vaynerchuk on July 29th, 2008 6:00 pm

    YUP! Great Post!

  2. Derek on July 29th, 2008 11:16 pm

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting Gary. I’ve been thinking a while on how I wanted to structure this type of post and your update the other morning helped bring it all together for me.

  3. Cape Cod Twitterers: 70+ Twitter Profiles on Cape Cod | Cape Cod SEO on January 3rd, 2009 10:11 am

    […] A Simple Reason Why You Should Participate in Social Media […]