In essence, emerging media has leveled the playing field for online users to produce and distribute content, just as efficiently (although not as professionally) as would a professional marketer, or a print, radio, or television producer. The content, or social objects, are used as conversational pieces to find new connections and deepen existing bonds. Whereas technology has provided the means to find each other through shared goals and aspirations, emerging media’s social tools have facilitated users to form communities not bounded by physical locale. The creation of these online communities with far-reaching influence means that as a business entity, it’s no longer viable to be invisible.
After overcoming the frustration of the technology itself, the initial experience may be innocuous and lack significance. But as the network grows, the engagement deepens, and the ego derives satisfaction from the positive reinforcement of his/her digital self (aka alter ego), integrating the medium as an essential function of life becomes as natural as breathing.
The significance of digital social networking and the compound effect and reach of an influential opinion has redefined the relationship between the organization and the individual, whether s/he is an employee, customer, donor, investor, partner, etc. The individual has been given a megaphone to voice his/her point of view, and there’s no telling what s/he will say. Social media marketing offers the opportunity to shape that opinion. It harnesses the power of word-of-mouth endorsements and then efficiently, strategically amplifying it. By leveraging technology to connect with customers and build a foundation of public two-way conversation, a brand can exert an incredible amount of influence on how often its products/services will be positively propagated throughout the respective social networks.
If 2010 highlighted the pioneers who experimented, tested, proved ROI using emerging media’s social tools, then 2011 will see more mainstream organizations’ adoption of these methodology and scaling these activities across the organization. If you haven’t joined the social revolution, what are you waiting for?