There's scarcely an adult on the planet who hasn't heard of social media and a whopping 74 percent of people who go online use at least one social networking service. It's easier than ever to stay connected to the people we care about but what else has social media done for us and what does it mean for your brand? Plenty!
It's easy for people with common interests to find each other. Social media has widened the field for folks looking for others to participate in the same things they like to do. These days hikers, geocachers, knitters, book lovers, and hobbyists of all kinds use social networking services to easily organize meetups or other gatherings and broadcast the event far and wide for anyone who might be interested. That's a boon for businesses who want to know what their customers are saying and, more important, what kinds of things they want.
People can connect with brands they love. Most users of social media follow at least one brand or store to keep track of news and announcements. Some even use it as a replacement for calling customer service with questions or concerns. That means companies need to make sure to claim their own space on social channels, but the benefits are well worth the time investment. Meeting customers where they are and being accessible when they're looking for you gives you the edge over competitors that don't bother to secure Facebook and Twitter accounts.
We've become much more visually-oriented. Social services like Instagram and Pinterest are white hot right now. Even Facebook and Twitter are filled with images, videos, infographics, and other visual content. People love to share pictures of what they're doing, where they are, and even what they're eating. The trend is great for brands because social media is a terrific way to highlight tonight's chef's special, a hot clothing line, or a new logo. Service-oriented brands who don't have something tangible to photograph can get in on the action by sharing a clever meme or an infographic with filled with important data.
Sharing is caring. One of the best and most frequently used features of all social media tools is the share option. Whether you're retweeting a funny joke or reposting an important news story for your Facebook followers to read, sharing content is one of the most popular things to do in social channels. It's only natural to want to tell everyone you know when you find something funny, touching, moving, or newsworthy. Sharing is, after all, a fundamental part of being human and social media makes it easier than ever. Brands must work hard to create shareable content as part of their social marketing campaigns.
The impact social media has had on people and businesses is clear and it will be fascinating to see over time how it further changes our interactions with each other and the brands we love. It's not an understatement to say it has both revolutionized the way we relate to each other and the way we do business.