Why Social Media is Essential for Business
Sep 26, 2011 5:41 AM - Posted by Brad Smith
A recent survey from small business insurance company Hiscox reported that “47% of respondents indicated they did not use social media for business purposes at all.”
And only 12% use it “all the time”.
These results are shocking. It’s clear that most people still don’t understand what social media is, and why it’s important. Most claim they don’t have time for social media.
Which is fair. It’s vastly overrated.
But social media is still essential for business. Here’s why.
Image courtesy of Intersection Consulting
Why Every Business Needs to be Social
Social media as we know it will cease to become an isolated “thing”. It will blend in to your “traditional” internet properties to create a more dynamic user experience.
Businesses who understand how to combine the best of both worlds will reap the benefits of their early adoption.
Blogs and social networking integration is already happening. However most businesses are laggards and don’t understand the true principles of the social web.
Most attempts are stuffy, corporate, formal, and slow.
Everything social media isn’t.
Building a legitimate social media presence gives you unparalleled access to your existing customers. But that’s not all.
While search engines are still the primary way people find you on the internet, social networks are morphing into recommendation engines.
The premise goes back to relevancy. You are more like your friends and family, so you value their opinions more than some disinterested third party with a commercial bias (i.e. search engines).
It is absolutely essential that businesses and leaders understand how to leverage the tremendous opportunities a social web creates, while also understanding the “unwritten” rules.
Understanding the Social Graph
This concept of an online social graph became popular in 2007 when used by Facebook to describe the social ecosystem they’ve constructed.
The best explanation I’ve seen comes from Jeremiah Owyang,
The Social Graph is the representation of our relationships. In present day context, these graphs define our personal, family, or business communities on social networking websites. Alex Iksold further breaks down the social graph into three specific elements: People Identity, Type of Relationships, and Relationships Identity. These relationships can be mapped, displayed, or documented in what we call the Social Graph.
Understanding this concept gives you the ability to understand the future evolution of social networking and the internet.
As this social graph is maturing, it’s beginning to integrate seamlessly into every aspect of the web as we know it. A social graph makes the web more interconnected and relevant.
This social proliferation has profound impacts.
Search + Social
People are beginning to use Facebook (and their friend’s interests or recommendations) to find answers instead of turning to Google.
The growing influence of social connections in finding and accessing information over the internet is the present and future.
Search engines are already using your social media interactions to personalize your search results. So who you’re connected to and things you value will influence your results.
That means investing in search engine optimization cannot happen anymore without social media.
And internet marketing cannot exist without either one.
Helpful Links for More Social Media Tips
- Get Free Marketing Tips with Our Free Weekly Newsletter.
- 22 Social Marketing Tips Your “Social Media Expert” Won’t Tell You
- How to Start Using Google+ for Your Business
- Why Most Companies Underinvest in Social Media (And How You Can Fix It)
- How to Use Social Media to Build Your Business (Even if You’re Starting from Scratch)