There are two reasons why I love social media: first, I grew up with social media. As a Millennial (Generation Y), social media has shaped many aspects of my life. From Xanga to Myspace to Facebook to Twitter, I’ve spent many of my formative years connecting with friends via the ‘Net.
The second reason why I love social media is because I’ve been immersing myself in it for the past three months as the MBA Program’s social media intern. And while I love interviewing our students and alumni to tell their stories, I also spend significant amounts of time researching social media.
Recently, I’ve been reading Erik Qualman’s renowned book Socialnomics. In its 296 pages, Socialnomics seeks to explain social media’s impact on how we live and do business. As I’ve read, I’ve been taking notes for you (which will be Part 2 of this blog post).
And here’s why: last year, Facebook was the most-visited website. If your job isn’t affected by social media right now, it will be soon. As Scott Monty (who manages social media for Ford Motor Company) says in Qualman’s foreward,
“Social media is living and breathing and it touches every part of an organization from Customer Service to frontline sales, even Human Resources and Information Technology. It’s wherever and however your customer chooses to reach out to you.”
Point One: Virality—the Quality of “Going Viral”
Word of mouth via social media is huge. For example, I heard about President Obama’s speech regarding Osama bin Laden around 9 p.m. (the speech didn’t air until nearly 11) via Twitter, and watching the speech on our TV didn’t cross my mind. My roommates and I huddled in front of my desktop, simultaneously viewing the live broadcast and Twitter feeds.
Like most good things, there can be a huge backlash. When my Internet provider charged me $40 for changing my debit card on file, my friends and family knew immediately. As I searched for a new provider, dozens of recommendations poured in—within 10 minutes. If you are not regularly searching for your business, you are missing the conversations your customers are having without you.
Point Two: Social Media is Soft
One of the major headaches for social media gurus is making sense of social media. What does it mean to have a coveted Facebook “like”? Numerous marketers and online consultants have spent hours converting a “like” or a “follow” into an ROI that you can carry to the bank.
Here’s the problem. The power of social media is soft. Sure, I appreciate the witty Tweets and the helpful Facebook posts. But I’m not moving from my chair to go buy your product. You didn’t sell me anything during my morning blog routine. And if you tried, I closed my browser faster than you could say, “On sale!”
You know what did work, the other day? One of my favorite YouTube series was sponsored by a brand. While grocery shopping, I noticed their logo and was reminded of their series. And I picked that product up off the shelf…
Point Three: Where are My Boundaries?
“You can reach me any time, any way. And I don’t really sleep that much.”
You can text me, call me, stop by my apartment. Or email me. Or Facebook me, or send me a Tweet. Try LinkedIn. That’s not working? Well, I must be in the library—void of electronic communication.
There are noticeably less boundaries thanks to fast advances in social media and technology. For example, one of my supervisors recently emailed me at midnight, and was dismayed that I didn’t answer until my morning email sweep (can you tell I’ve programmed in my communications routines?).This was a boundary I created.
With that being said, there is a benefit to using social media at work. I know I would be thrilled if I could harness the MBA Program’s professors on every site, and watch as their collective Tweets and status updates reached all of you.
But your virtual farm, however, can wait.
–Kelly Frye, Social Media Intern