“I just retweeted your tweet about your post on Facebook for your new blog entry and then added a link on my blog back to your original post. Thanks for the friend request.”
In today’s world the above would be commonplace as more of us have entered this world of “status updates”, “tweets” and “blog posts”. This new evolution has allowed us to keep in touch with people through quick snippets of 100+ characters. I say evolution because that is exactly what we are looking at. We are social creatures and this is nothing more then the Book Club or Tupperware Party of the past. Those D&D Thursday nights or Monday Night Football gatherings. Now we see people hosting their Book Club and Tupperware Party in virtual settings like Second Life, and Monday Night Football has turned into a Facebook/Twitter/MySpace status update each time our team scores. While DND Thursdays have turned into all-night raids during games of World of Warcraft.
There is no denying the fact that social media usage has made massive gains. These gains are not just among the normal internet user but also the on-the-clock internet user who sometimes uses these sites for more than simply personal reasons.
Several reports have now shown that there has been a steady increase in on-the-clock users for several of the online networks. The top reasons users gave for using these sites at work were professional networking, keeping up with friends, and general research. While a small percentage were logging on for more specialized reasons or to market to customers.
Not surprisingly, this rise in usage has started to raise red flags for some companies. In one poll three-quarters stated that is was unacceptable to check Facebook or other social networking sites if unrelated to work. This new stance has caused complications for some users when friending a colleague or supervisor and has blurred the boundaries between personal and business because of these sites’ usefulness at work and at home.
This doesn’t mean that these social networking sites are only good for home use and keeping in touch with friends, but for those of us who have taken the time to integrate them into our lives and our business we need to know not only how to use them but better yet – when to use them. We need to recognize the networking medium as a way to more intimately engage the end user and to help better understand their needs. Social media can help to get those conversations started or to jump-start an old conversation with your end users, allowing you to offer better support to them. It’s up to us as advertisers to figure out how to best gauge the value and the budget needed to attract those end users. Because in the end there is no real reason to have a fan base that had to be bribed by a re-tweet, re-post, or a ping back. Not to mention, Tupperware Parties just don’t seem to be in style anymore.