Thursday, May 13, 2010

Social Media as a tool for customer engagement

Lately I have been thinking a lot about social media's impact on the business world. Its not just 12 year olds out there just telling us they tied their shoes, its millions, and soon to be billions of people conversing and engaging each other. If you still think social media (SM) is for kids, here a few tidbits that might change your mind:

Facebook has over 500 million unique users, if Facebook were a country it would be the third largest country in the world.

A company called Zynga makes social games for Facebook and the like, and it has over 250 million unique users on its games, that would make it the 4th largest country in the world.

The fastest growing demographic on Facebook is 40-60 year old women.

Even if it is all kids, those kids are going to buying a lot of lollipops this year. Wouldn't you like to have your shiny lollipop staring them into the face every time they log in, don't you want to know how to tap into the vast array of information that people voluntarily(!) give to Facebook about what they like and don't like? Don't you want to hear what your customers are saying about your product in real-time and even interact with them to make their experiences more meaningful and important to them? This is the next wave, ride it or drown.

I would like to touch on each of these topics in my next couple of posts. First I would like to address engagement.

One of the best things about SM is that it makes the web accessible to anyone with a keyboard. No more reading "HTML for dummies" to put up a website, now you just sign up for a MySpace account and key in your age, gender, and favorite movies, select a picture that captures your essence, and boosh! - instant web page. This allows everyone to have a place on the web, its not just for Wikipedia, Google, and porn any more.

Not only is it accessible, but it is self-propagating, and therein lies the engagement. Once your friend builds a profile, he will send out emails to all his friends to connect and create their own profiles. Then someone will post on his wall, and he will post back, then someone will see that post and say they like it, then they will dig a little deeper and more people will get interested, then they will talk about it at the bar/school/water cooler, and new people will join the fray, its almost like a cheap, white powder my Colombian friends would be familiar with - addictive.

The conversations continue and propagate themselves, they add more users to the system, which thereby add more conversation and interact with each other more and more. Now they say the best way advertisement that one can get is word of mouth - why not stick the words in your customers' mouth's? Get on there, get active, participate, be apart of the ecosystem, bring new people on board, show them you are real people too, in short - Get Engaged!

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