Social Media has taken the internet by storm. The proof is in the pudding; Facebook beat Google on growth pace and became the most visited website in 2010.
Other than social networking between internet surfers, Social Media networks have developed unique facilities and modules to have a stake in business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) streams:
- Facebook has its “Facebook Page” that allows for businesses to set up a forum and identity (branding components include top banner, image, Facebook Ads and so on)
- Twitter has its accounts for businesses to create real-time tweets and attach links (there is also a recently developed component to allow for paid posts to appear in other account feeds)
- LinkedIn has its professional-only pages, as well as industry groups and advertisements
The playing field now hosts a whole new ball game, and businesses both large and small are doing what they can to connect to their consumers. Generating conversation among consumers is a very cost-effective strategy which circulates a brand.
The double-edged nature of this opportunity is that the company will not have control over what is said about its brand’s integrity and reputation. For example, in March 2011, the international car manufacturer Chrysler had one of its Social Media coordinators accidentally post a comment on its Twitter account (@ChryslerAutos) incorporating the F-Word:
“I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f*ing drive.”
The comment was deleted almost instantly. However, re-tweets went off the scale exposing this comment to millions of Twitter users, and public anger was the subsequent result.
Social Media has untapped potential for businesses to communicate with consumer markets, but great care needs to be put into the social media strategy.