It seems consumers no longer want to be sold to, but they would rather be introduced to new products and services. Only 14% of consumers today trust advertisements, leaving the majority of their purchasing power resulting from the recommendations and personal experiences of others. More and more it seems, people are reaching to those whose opinion they value for an inside scoop, especially when it comes to spending money. Whether it is to touch base with a fellow brand lover, your Uncle Charlie who just bought that new lawn mower, or to contact a company directly, social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn have given us the tools to do all of those things in one place.
Despite that this is all being done digitally, I find it very interesting and telling that there is still a huge need for human interaction to make business better. People have an innate need for sincerity. Customers want to know that there is a person behind the organization who cares about their opinions, and rightfully so. With many organizations on the political donation bandwagon, it has now become the social responsibility of all consumers to know where their money is going when they spend it.
With customers now looking for that personal connection to their favourite brands, social media has exploded and is no longer just for staying connected to your high school best friend across the country. 40% of all businesses in Canada are represented on social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Business happens on and because of social networks, and it’s the most inclusive and diverse market we have ever experienced.
According to marketing firm ODG Group, if Facebook represented a country, it would be the third most populated country on Earth.
While Global Learning’s initial intentions were to garner more clients and increase our marketing strategies when we first lept into the digital social party, we soon came to realize that the integrity of the social media networks’ diversity is far deeper than just another digitized billboard.
Our social media accounts have become our voice to the community and we soon became aware that community meant the world. While @egloballearning on Twitter is still a relative newbie in the Twittersphere, we are very proud of the modest – yet continuous – growth of one of the most diverse groupings of followers we ever could have imagined: representatives of major corporations, small businesses, every race, a multitude of religions, any number of orientations, and occupations you would never have even thought existed. Social Media outlets like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn garner, hands down, the largest multicultural, multinational, diverse audience, anywhere… ever.
Our Twitter account has followers from every continent in the world, except Antarctica (that we know of). This very blog alone has snagged the eyes of diversity-minded readers in ten different countries purely from social networking. A big “hello” to our readers in Estonia!
People love details: it’s what makes art art, it’s what makes books interesting. The same can be applied to businesses: the more interesting bits of information you acquire about a business, the more influenced you become in your purchase decision-making. If I as a business owner have an opportunity to supply you with the proper facts regarding my organization’s fundamental values, knowing that it can influence your decision-making, I most certainly will be taking advantage of that bulls-eye.
I also believe that if one can find out that a potential client or partner is publicly taking the time to expand their thinking by connecting with individuals and organizations around the world, and also maintaining an open line of communication about it, I most certainly will give that organization, at the very least, a glance at their website. We should always do our best to connect with others that sincerely want to expand their own personal innovation. That’s a great start to any business interaction.
While these networks do take significant time and effort to understand in order to properly utilize them, they are quickly becoming not just a must for businesses to keep up with the Joneses, but a must because it’s better business. Social networking allows for a business to supply accurate information and proper communication. Fascinatingly enough, these two elements are also the two prime keys to understanding diversity.
Bottom line, the social networks offer the largest built-in diverse audience you could have ever wished for and a ‘real-time’ open line of communication to convey your message. So I say “run, don’t walk”, to your nearest computer and at the very least begin to understand how these networks operate, what they are doing for your competitors and most importantly what they could be doing for you.
‘Ultimately, brands need to have a role in society. The best way to have a role in society is to understand how people are talking about things in real time.” – Jean-Philippe Maheu, chief digital officer at Ogilvy