As technology has become more sophisticated, so has the ability of companies to use technology for advantageous measures. One of the most exciting tools of the technology boom is social media.
Social media is a form of communication that is disseminated through social interaction. It is created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Businesses refer to social media as user-generated content (UGC) or consumer-generated media (CGM). Social media utilization is believed to be a driving factor in the idea that the current period will one day be defined as the Attention Age.
Is that moniker appropriate? People are being constantly bombarded with so many communications that it may be more sensible to refer to this age as the Age of Communication Overload. Think of all the instances that you are communicated with (to?) through the course of just one day. You might see a billboard on the way to work that you read while switching a song on your phone that is streaming to your car through Bluetooth while texting a co-worker that you are running a few minutes behind. At any given moment, there is a plethora of communications around us all.
Therefore, it is even more important to create an acute point of differentiation between your business and the competition, and in order to do that, you must utilize the channels of communication that are most effective and efficient.
Many companies have thought about implementing social media into their businesses, but the same concerns keep surfacing. It is “too difficult to get started” or “it is costly and ineffective to track results.” Despite these concerns, many of the world’s top companies continue to engage in social media. US social media advertising revenue is estimated to increase by more than 194% in 2018/19 which translates to a 24% annual growth rate. There is a new social media user every 15 seconds and according to BrizFeel, 3.03 billion people, or roughly half of the total population of the world is on social media.
The question that emerges is that if social media is an inefficient means of communication, why do so many front-leading companies continue to invest huge amounts of intellectual and financial capital? The answer is that it is still a new technology, and in the “Attention Age” information is no longer the key, it is how you get that information to the end-users. The next vehicle to deliver these messages has already been chosen by the elite: social media.
There are many choices in social media: Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, blogs, You Tube, etc. The best one for your business is the one that makes the most sense demographically, financially, implementation wise, and the one that best matches the personnel you have to dedicate to the project.
The most important elements to implementing a social media plan are:
- Understand your audience ─ No two social media communities are the same. Know what you want and match that up with the most appropriate channel. For example, Facebook has become a very diverse community that has drawn almost as much interest from people in their 30s and 40s as people in their teens and 20s. However, Youtube’s primary audience is still overall a much younger demographic. If this information is combined into your marketing and communication strategy you can utilize the most appropriate channels to reach your target audience.
- Develop a social media strategy. Determine what you want to accomplish, who you want your messages to reach, etc
- Start Small ─ Start with activities that may be low risk such as creating a company Facebook page or starting a company blog, then move into more complex endeavors such as social media advertising or creating videos that promote your company. This will help your staff adapt to the process as well as help you avoid any legal issues that may arise with having company information on a public site
- Look for measurable value ─ Every investment should yield a measurable result. Look for unique and creative ways to measure social media results for your business.
- Determine social media communicators. Who at your company will be heading the social media project? Will they be centralized or decentralized?
 That works out at a new social media user every 15 seconds