Social Media is the Here and Now for Businesses

 Is your business on the Internet?  Just a few years back, the answer to this question used to be a straight forward Yes or No.  With the increase in social media sites such as Twitter and FaceBook, the answer to this question isn’t a simple yes or no.

Social media is the here and now for businesses, providing an avenue for businesses to easily reach out to the masses.

Why is social media the “here and now” for businesses?

The proliferation of smart phone technology has allowed people to link social media sites to their phones.  Twitter and FaceBook updates are delivered instantaneously to users, providing businesses with unprecedented access to their customers.  Relationships can be engaging and interactive as opposed to being forced and directed.

What should not be lost on a business is the fact this is “social” media.  Businesses have to resist the temptation to be self-promoters and keep the relationship engaging and social.  This doesn’t mean a business cannot use social media to promote itself but it has to be balanced otherwise, people will tune out and disengage.

Think of the possibility opened to a business if someone asks a question on their smart phone via Twitter – “Where would I find a great lunch in …?” or “What restaurant would you recommend in downtown …?”

People are expecting an answer in the “here and now” and would like a response from their social network based on experiences.  A business utilizing social media from those areas could pick up on these types of questions and provide an immediate response such as “There’s a little bistro Katy’s on 123 Street.  Ask for Katy. Great service, great food.”

The answer is delivered in the “here and now”, remains social and reaches out to a potential customer instantly.

The problem with having a social presence online means it will require effort and it is an active medium to reach customers because it is the “here and now”.  Answering questions or responding to queries for lunch time suggestions three days after they occurred is ineffective.  It is an opportunity loss and may also lead to a poor impression of the company in question.

Companies have to find the balance and understand the implications of the “here and now” on their operations.  There is no denying they have to exist in the social realm but they have to be strategic in how they utilize the tools at their disposal.

Being strategic about social media will be used and following through on that strategy is critical.  Having clear objectives designed to meet realistic goals and expectations is crucial for succeeding in this new social internet.

Struggling with answering the question “Is your business on the Internet?”  You’re not alone.

Keep it simple, keep it engaging and keep it in the “here and now”.  Social media isn’t going away and this is the new reality of being online.

Have thoughts or comments on this?  Drop me a note.

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About Barry Wheeler

Barry Wheeler is a blogger, novice SEO, geek and passionate Newfoundlander. Operating several successful websites and online communities, Barry has started exploring the social internet and its impact on all facets of society including personal life and business relationships. Find Barry on Twitter @barrywheeler and FaceBook or on his website Barry Wheeler - Blogging for Success.
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