To understand this first one needs to understand that Media is a platform where one voices his or her opinions. The traditional Media is basically extremely restrictive. You need to be part of a Media organization to voice yourself. But the Social Media is different because you need no degrees or associations to voice your opinion. And apart from this you get to interact with people. You talk back and get feedback first hand. Basically the New Media or the Social Media is actually much quicker and interactive.
What is Social Networking?
Literally it just means talking to people. Hanging out with those whom you associate yourself with. But this term is exclusively used for the growing Internet communities. This is because you find millions of people on the net. And more the people greater is the possibility of finding like-minded people.
So if the Social Media is the platform then it is Social Networking that you are engaging in.
What constitutes the Social Media?
Broadly speaking the Internet is actually one big platform where you interact with others. But narrowing down you have websites that help you form networks. Example Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc. You got forums where you can log in and exclusively talk about the topics which you are interested in. Then you have the Blogs which you can use to share what you believe in and have other people commenting on it.
Wherever a two way communication is possible that is a part of the bigger Social Media network.
Who uses the Social Media?
Social Media is for everyone. Be it a student, a housewife, a corporate hotshot or some big organization. The point is that you are meeting people. And people make use of different platforms depending upon their needs and requirements. So a Car lover will most probably have account on FB and will also be regular on a forum. And he might also have a blog where he writes about Cars.
So for a company which interested in selling Cars will also have a page on FB that the Car Lover can like. Or they could also have a blog which the he can follow.
Social networking definitely dominates our time on the Internet. But how much time do we exactly spend on the Internet?
As matter of fact according to the reports on Brian Solis the time spent on Social Networking sites has increased by 82%. According to Nielson 22.7% of the time spend on web is devoted to either Facebook or Twitter worldwide. The Facebook itself boasts of 25 million Indians. And 95% of the Indians online engage in Social Networking.
For more info you can check out the following SlideShare: The Networked Youth.
The Customer Equation
– From the Marketer’s POV
The Social Media is the best platform for a business and its customer to come together. In this fast and super competitive world where all the companies want to stay on the top and to do that they need to know what is their customer’s demand. A business, whether big or small has a lot to gain from the Social Media.
So how can you actually benefit from the use of Social Media?
- Increased awareness of the organization
- Increased traffic to website
- Greater favorable perceptions of the brand
- Able to monitor conversations about the organization
- Able to develop targeted marketing activities
- Better understanding of customers perceptions of their brand
- Improved insights about their target markets
- Identification of positive and negative comments
- Increase in new business
- Identification of new product or service opportunities
- Ability to measure the frequency of the discussion about the brand
- Early warning of potential product or service issues
The main point is that you do not need to be a big organization or some kind of MNC. If you know how to market yourself and how to go for your client then just take the social plunge.
– Customer’s POV
What has Social Media achieved for the customers? The response is of course positive. Since many businesses –big and small have benefited. So basically yes the Customers too feel that they now have more access to products and services. A customer also feels that he is on the higher pedestal because the Internet has actually opened for him a plethora of choices.
But this is when you compare the traditional market with the new and emerging one. The trouble that companies will fail in the near future is ‘Now from here to where?’ Many companies have actually started thinking on how they want to better their customers’ online experience. But India will have to wait for the Online Marketing scene to completely arrive, than the customers to mature, and then for them to demand.
What is the Cost of ignoring Social Media?
Ignoring the Social Media is a huge mistake. Look what the Social Media is doing for you is ‘word of mouth’ publicity and we all know how effective and beneficial it is. So if you are not using the Social Media along with your traditional marketing methods then you are working yourself too hard and receiving poor results. But if you take out some of your time and allocate minimum amount of your marketing funds for Marketing through Social Media you stand to gain much more. And especially in a country like India which where people are opening to the capabilities of Online Networking the early birds will make the most of it.