This is something I wrote up to clear my head before attempting to develop a social media strategy for my internship at MōR Marketing.
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, reddit, YouTube…what do these have in common? They’re Social Media, and pundits say they have changed the rules entirely.
Gary Vaynerchuk grew his business from the $5 million venture his father had founded to the $50 million name brand it is today using a combination of easily shared videos and a constant social media presence.
Eight months ago, Dell announced that they’d made $6.5 million in sales from their twitter account, @DellOutlet. Dell has a following of 1.5 million on Twitter alone, not counting its other social media ventures.
This summer, I used Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to connect with entrepreneurs in Urbana, Chicago, and Los Angeles to arrange informational interviews. What I learned during those meetings may not have had cash value, but what I learned was priceless. Without social media, I may have never had a chance to talk to them, Dell would have missed out on a sizeable profit, and none of us would have ever heard of Gary Vaynerchuk. Like I said, everything is different with social media.
Or is it?
Let’s take a look. Social media allows people to connect more quickly, to specific people, in an authentic manner.
OKCupid is a dating site mostly run by Harvard trained mathematicians; stats geeks whose sole job is to improve the matchmaking capabilities of their website. Members can view photos, search for potential mates and sort by personality, and message as many other members as their hearts desire. Members can very quickly assess what kind of person they’re looking at through their photos, profile, and personality matching questions. The best part? There’s no entry to getting an account because it’s free.
Google revolutionized search, but today, search is taken for granted – every website worth its salt has search and filters to narrow down specifically to your interests. Twitter is known for its usefulness as a publishing platform, but its secondary, less obvious function, is that it is a handy site to search for interesting topics and for the people who are talking about them. If you want to know the latest news in any subject, there is almost certainly someone talking about it on twitter.
Shaquille O’Neal goes by the moniker @THE_REAL_SHAQ on Twitter, and is followed by over 3 million people. What’s more remarkable is that he actively engages with the twitter community. In public he has been known to update his twitter and call for members to “show themselves” when he “senses the twitterdom nearby.” In one case, he met up with two fans who updated their twitter upon seeing him in a restaurant. In another, he gave out free basketball game tickets to the first twitter users to physically touch him. With so many conversations going on with so many people, it is impossible to be anything but authentic.
But more than just having to be authentic, social media allows people to be authentic effortlessly, to respond to individuals, and to build trust. And that’s what it all comes down to.
Not social media. Business.
IT’S ALL ABOUT TRUST
We trust Ford to build tough, quality vehicles. We trust Apple to build the most detail oriented devices in the world. We trust Google to organize the world’s information. That’s why we buy Ford, that’s why we buy Apple, and that’s why Google is the number one search engine in the world.
When it comes down to it, social media doesn’t change business all that much. What it does, and does very well, is help find who is worthy of our trust quickly, specifically, and authentically.