Social Media in a Nutshell

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Simply defined, social media is the use of internet or mobile-based technologies to facilitate conversations among users.  Its networking capability connects users with friends, peers and those with shared interests.  The evolution of the internet has empowered users to assert their voices publicly, and this demand for connectivity has spawned countless online tools for users to become publishers of media content, rather than merely being consumers of information.
As the adoption rate of engaged participation becomes a mainstay in a Web 2.0 world, users will be less influenced by the one-to-many broadcasting mediums of traditional marketing, and more persuaded by the collective opinions of the many-to-many conversations.  Thus, the implication of social media reveals that anyone knowledgeable of the tools of online publishing, has the potential to shape perception, influence opinions and affect purchase decisions. The velocity and magnitude at which information is created and shared has fundamentally changed the traditional marketing rules.

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.

The Hook

What is this draw to the social media form of networking?  The idea behind social networks, as described by sociologists, is that they help to create an “ambient awareness” of significant people in our lives — friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers — and allow us to stay in touch with them in some small way.

the social media hook

The Social Media Hook

Aside from our genetic predisposition to embed ourselves inside a human social network, the deeply-rooted psychological need for self-enhancement continues to be the driving force that fuels adoption of this medium.  Individuals seek acknowledgement, feedback, and reciprocal kindness that oftentimes are lacking in the offline world.  Furthermore, the natural curiosity about the people in our network and those beyond our social horizon becomes the hook that keeps the user coming back for more.

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.

Join the Social Media Revolution
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?
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» Social Media, Web Design » Social Media in a Nutshell
On December 20, 2010

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