A few years ago, most technology firms, as well as most companies, were not as familiar with the benefits of social media sites for creating brand awareness, building a wide network, and creating an online presence to communicate, and engage followers / prospective clients.
Now that social media has become more "main stream", a noticeable paradigm shift has occurred in the attitude toward social media held by people, companies, retail stores, civic organizations, restaurants, non-profits, athletic teams, and of course, all types of media and nightly news organizations.
Individuals and companies, formally content to sit on the "sidelines" with little or no interest in social networking sites, have embraced social media with renewed interest, and want to be more a part of it now, or at least have a better understanding of what all the social media "buzz" is about.
The more savvy converts to the power of social media have learned to "listen" to what others say about them, their company, product, or industry. They have discovered a way to grow a wider network, create greater brand awareness, and build solid relationships to promote better customer engagement.
"Fish where the fish are. There are a great number of social networking sites that a company can leverage to its advantage to see where their customers are "active", and expressing a desire or need for services, products, or information. "
- From a previous Richmond Social Media Examiner article, 6 social media marketing tips for e-Commerce
Many success stories of how different companies are benefiting from social media have been documented in several articles. The following insight by Eric Rivers brings to light how some well known brands are not only embracing social media, but are encouraging their employees to do so, as well.
"IBM has a presence across most of social media, but perhaps their greatest innovation is the way in which they positively encourage their employees to use social media to discuss their work. This can include what they're working on at the moment, plans for the future and even new products.
There is a central concept here that many companies should consider: IBM believes the best way to showcase its work and products is via its own staff. Their talent and enthusiasm acts as a great commercial for all they do and by allowing its staff to use social media, the company is showing its faith in its employees and by extension customers feel more comfortable and engaged by the brand."
- From Technology Brands Using Social Media Effectively - By Eric Rivers January 7, 2011
An increasing number of Indian companies are using social media as an effective business tool with 83 per cent firms in India agreeing that without social media activity, marketing strategies cannot hope to be successful, while globally, 74 per cent companies endorse the view, according to the survey by Regus, a leading office-space solutions provider.
Around 52 per cent of businesses globally and 64 per cent in India use sites like Twitter and Weibo to engage, connect with and inform existing customers. In India 67 per cent of firms encourage their employees to join social networks such as LinkedIn, Xing and Video, compared to 53 per cent globally."
- Indian firms using social media to win new business - By PTI, Tuesday, 07 June 2011
Although this next article was published a few years ago, the message is clear, even if the statistics for social media usage have certainly increased since the original publication.
"In the past few years social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube and others have revolutionized the way businesses go about networking. Whether promoting themselves to customers or journalists, or gathering market feedback, major corporations and small enterprises have begun leveraging the power of online social networks. Let's examine this growing phenomenon to see how it's applicable for many businesses.
Is Social Media really here to stay?
The statistics below indicate that this is not simply a fad, but a real paradigm shift.
- 88% of marketers are using social media
- 67% of global web-users visit social network sites
- 10% of all time spent on the internet is on social media sites
- 77% of all active internet users regularly read blogs
What is the value of social media networks?
Social media is really about two things; raising awareness of your company and tapping into relevant online conversations that affect your company and its technology. Today, when such a large percent of your audience is using social media to research just about everything, drawing online attention to your company and learning about your audience's needs through these networks, is clearly one of the keys success."
- From WHY IS SOCIAL MEDIA ESSENTIAL FOR TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES - By David Anthony | 11/16/09
Research was conducted on some of the top technology firms in the Richmond, VA area on June 15, 2011 to see which social network sites were being used for their branding and marketing efforts.
The statistics below indicate the level to which these firms now embrace the social media "power trio" (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter), and other social networks like You Tube, as well.
- 100% of the 20 firms surveyed had both Facebook and Linked accounts
- 75% of the firms had also had Twitter accounts
- 75% of the firms had social media links on their home page
- 30% of the firms had YouTube accounts
Many technology firms in the Richmond area understand this and are embracing social media to create better brand awareness, get their message to their target market, create engagement with followers, and monitor their online reputation.
Is your technology firm on the same "playing field" with other technology firms finding success with social networking, or are you watching from the "sidelines" - out of sight, out of mind? Will your firm be ON or OFF the radar when that next potential customer comes looking for technology services via social media?