As a person who loves and enjoys social media for it’s innate ability to connect us to people and events, which we could never have done so even just a few years ago, I wanted today to talk to you about a topic dear to my heart. It’s a strange but very real phenomenon that has occurred within the past few years with the rise of Smartphones being tied to our hips and wrists and almost everything we do. When our phones bing with texts and we answer it the second it happens, or we check out tweet or Facebook timelines every 10 minutes, this begs the question. With all of technologies advances in the past few years, does technology bring us closer to each other or further apart?
My answer to that is that both are correct. We live in a world where the gift of “social media” is that we can discuss, rate, help, contemplate, learn and talk in mere seconds/minutes/hours on new things happening throughout the world. However, we also live in a world where living in the “present” is being “assisted” by technology.
There is concept that is called Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO for short. This is the idea that most of us using our smartphones and technology are glued to what others are saying on the social media platforms, and have this need to check in as often as humanly possible, just in case we miss something good. As humans, and curious people, we hate to think we missed something good. Naturally, we do this as a way to feel connected to our “friends” online that we follow and Like, and Pin. It makes us feel good. Some people have mentioned that they see their real friends more often online via Facebook, Twitter, etc than they do in just getting together in person.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am part of this group and have willingly jumped in, as have you, to be part of my own experiences online as well as finding out about my connections, brands I follow and friends and their latest exploits detailed online. However, I do believe you need a BALANCE in life and go and meet, in my case, business leads and contacts you meet online. I use social media to start the process, and finish in person.
What I wanted to share in this post, from a Social Media insider, is that sometimes, we just need 2 things in our lives to achieve a good balance online:
1. UNPLUG and be ok with it. Don’t be afraid of missing out on something you missed online. Like a detox in real life, I have Unplugged myself when I find I need to re-charge my “batteries”. No cellphone, no social media, no texts sometimes for 1 day or longer just so I can be present with my family and my life.
2. Take the conversation OFFLINE and TALK to that person via the phone or in person. It’s amazing the amount of friendships and connections I have built up over the years with this tip.
Don’t buy into FOMO. Buy into real connections and being present.
My 2 cents…
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I started out in Social Media by joining LinkedIn. LinkedIn made sense at the time when I joined as it was a smart way to promote yourself to prospective business people and of course, meet up with your co-workers. It was not the powerhouse it is today but it was very smart idea at the time.
I have to say when I joined Twitter a few years later (because EVERYONE I knew told me to join…. and I caved), I was not impressed. Within about 3 days of being on there, all I saw were posts about going to lunch, what a great jog or run they had in the morning, and other daily items. I remember clearly thinking to myself, “What am I doing here?”.. I am here to tell you it can be much more that That… but more on that in a bit…
The same initial reaction happened with Facebook. All the people I knew were playing games on Facebook, buying virtual gifts, nudging me to respond and posting comments about their daily lives. It felt like I got dropped into a party and was the odd-man out.
Then I got to thinking…. There has to be more to this than just daily life activity postings? There must be a practical use for Social Media in Business.
Being a web designer and programmer, with some successful online products at the time, I realized that if I could use Social Media in a business sense, then it would be a great tool to reach a lot of people all at once and leverage other people’s connections to increase my Business profits.
Well it worked, and I started to see results for myself, and more importantly, for my clients (I was their Social Media Manager – although that wasn’t a real job title at that time ;).)
Well, fast forward to September 2011 and Social Media is the Buzz word of the last two years or so. Almost every Entrepreneur and Business owner I meet are talking about Social media and wanting to apply it in their business. This makes really me happy to see.
A good percentage of them either 1. Know that they need to use Social Media now in their business but don’t know where to begin or what to do OR 2. They are using it in their businesses however aren’t seeing any results from it, which my Business helps them out with if needed.
As one business owner to another business owner, I wanted to share with you 5 reasons that Social Media is ideal for your Business, products and Services.. and yes, you need to get started now, if you have not already begun.
Also, it is definitely not too late to be profitable using Social Media.
Here are my 5 reasons:
- Leverage your Social Reach and Impact: By using Social Media, it allows you to attract and target potential customers that may never have known you and your Business existed, for a fraction of the price you can pay with costly and less-and-less effective traditional advertising. It also allows you to connect with your existing customers in a fun yet professional fashion with rewards, promo codes and timely information.
- Develop and Build your Social Proof: Using social media for your Business allows your Customers/Followers/Friends/Connections/(insert the social media platform of choice) in Social Media to build your business up with comments, tweets, recommendations, links to your website that other people will see, which build credibility for what you are offering. People are using Social media now to get reviews on products. We tend to buy and use a product or service much quicker with a referral or word of mouth, because of the Social proof of others talking about it. I know that I buy a lot that way and I would suspect you would to..
- Every Possible Demographics for your Business is in here: There are over 750 Million users on Facebook (33% of that number is women in the age group of 35-65!), over 12 Million Small Business owners on LinkedIn, Google+ grew to 25 million users in just 1 month time and Twitter continues to grow. What is powerful about these stats is that I am sure there are portions of each major social media engine’s demographic that is your ideal client. So why not figure out which ones to “target”, attract and engage them while at the same time, leading them to becoming a customer.
- You control the message: With Social Media, you can control the message. If something goes wrong, you can fix it pretty fast with Social media (United Airlines didn’t get this right until a musician and 1 Million Views on Youtube did it for them) . This also allows you to create messages that you can write and post everyday if you wish. You are not stuck with an 1 year paid ad in the Yellow pages, or a large Billboard that costs money to re-do. Social media is meant to be flexible. If you want to throw out a special offer to your lists or mention a new service, you can do it for low to no-cost to you.
- Build Loyal Communities: Social Media truly builds a community of people that have similar likes and interests. You can find people who love to Scuba dive or people who like knitting. Being part of these groups by leveraging your Social Media brand, you can become part of their conversations and be a solution to their needs. People follow or connect with their interests and if that interest happens to be your ideal client, you should be there to help them along to make a decision.
To end off, in Social Media, you do not “hard sell” anything. What I am referring to is helping people make an informed decision by seeing that you are the best choice for your Service or Product, complimented by your social media strategies, that just so happen to move them in that direction…..
until the next post.