Why Social Media Can’t Be Ignored

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Anyone remember Facebook before the News Feed? It’s hard to believe that what is now one of the biggest draws to the social network was once one of its biggest points of contention.  And what about Twitter? The platform that at first evolved around news and events has now become a hotspot for big announcements ranging from political decisions to celebrity revelations.

Let’s also not forget about the impact Pinterest is making on not only the DIY/craft community. Brands like Scholastic and General Electric are channeling their creative side and using the service in a way that engages fans and gets them to repin, interact, and even convert.

These sites are growing like mad, and I mean that in the literal since. According to Craig Smith over at Digital Marketing Ramblings, Facebook has 1.11 billion users, Twitter has 500 million users, and Pinterest has 48.7 million users. I think it’s safe to say these numbers are growing too.

But, what we need to realize beyond the fact that social media is blowing up is that it has and is continuing to transform traditional business models. We know by now that social has dramatically impacted the way people share information. However, what we are still trying to grasp, I think, is how to adjust and keep up with all the changes.

Let’s look at public relations, for example. The control lies in the hands of consumers unless we, as marketers, are out there in the midst of it all. Product recalls, customer service issues, and more are now at the mercy of consumers, unless we get involved and react. If not, a brand could receive lasting damage.

Still, this transformation of power is not a bad thing. Social media is an incredible asset when used in its original form of establishing relationships. It also offers the opportunity to provide real-time market research as well as countless other benefits.

With its current growth rate, I can understand how social media can be intimidating. But, on the one hand, with as many users as it has and as much activity it creates, you’d be almost crazy to turn the other way. And on the other hand, it would be better to enter the space before anymore must-have platforms emerge.

Brian Solis, principal analyst with the Altimeter Group, introduced a Conversation Prism back in 2008 to provide understanding to the social landscape:

Conversation Prism Version 1

Now, just 5 years later, he has updated the prism to reflect the growth of the industry:

Conversation Prism Version 2

In spite of the tremendous growth we’ve seen thus far in social, I am inclined to believe that we are still in the early years. And if you’ve yet to jump on board with it, then I’d say that it’s high time you take the plunge.

Abby Johnson

Abby brings a unique perspective to the mix because her background consists of both traditional broadcast and public relations to now the world of online. She is very skilled at looking at the big picture and understanding how to get the message across to a particular audience.

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