As a concept, social media as we know it is really only about 15 years old. Though these types of online networking sites and forums had existed since the early days of the Internet, it wasn’t until February of 2004 that Facebook first debuted on college campuses around the country. Our lives have changed immeasurably since that time and social media, especially after the launch of the first true “smartphone” just a handful of years later, has a lot to do with it.
According to one recent study, there are now 3.196 billion people all over the world using some type of social media platform – up a massive 13% from the year prior. That same research revealed that across the globe, about 11 new people start using new social media sites every second. To put that into context, that means that about a million new social media users are “born” every single day.
But what is the real impact of all this?
Yes, social media has made it easier for us all to come together and share information – regardless of who we are, where we live or what type of background we have. It’s never been easier to make an impact with an audience that could amount to billions of people. Do you have a great video that represents your brand that you want to get out to the masses? With the right thumbnail generator, perfect timing and luck, you could reach a bigger audience than the Super Bowl before you know it.
But really, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Especially as far as marketing and brand awareness are concerned, the real impact of social media is one that we’re still in the process of discovering – but it’s safe to say that it’s a positive one, indeed.
The Power of Social Media, One Impact at a Time
The true power of social media rests not in its reach, but in the type of connection it’s now possible to make with people. Especially thanks to smartphones, people are more “dialed in” to the Internet now than they’ve ever been. We carry powerful little super computers around with us in our pockets all day long and many of us check them within five minutes of waking up in the morning.
The possibilities of that are truly limitless.
But again – so much of the real impact of social media has to do with that connection. Not the volume of them that you’re able to make, but the quality. Another recent study revealed that 71% of consumers who have a positive social media service experience with a brand are very likely to recommend that brand to others.
When is the last time the same can be said of something like a TV spot? Sure, you might mention that funny commercial you saw on TV to your friends at work – but are you really going to try to get them to do business with that company? Probably not. On social media, however, it’s another story.
Another study revealed that about 78% of the people who raise a grievance with a brand on Twitter expect some type of response within an hour. What does this tell us? Simple – that your customers don’t see social networking sites as “just another marketing medium.” They’re not following your brand to be sold to. They have questions and they want you to give them the answers. They want problems and they want you to provide the solutions. They expect genuinely helpful, informative content like that “Brand Story” you spent so much time creating in a presentation software like Visme (which I founded). They don’t have time for commercials.
Therein lies the true impact of social media – it’s totally changed the way that people interact with businesses in the first place. Gone are the days where your customers were people who you were “just trying to sell you.” They want to have an actual, mutually beneficial relationship with your brand and social media is where they want to have it.
With services like Respona, it’s also possible to take these effects one step further. By diving deep into the analytical data of who you’re interacting with, what they’re responding to and why, you can find out more actionable information about these people than ever. That gives you the ability to always make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward, creating the most satisfying experience possible the people you’ve dedicated yourself to serving.
At that point, you’re left with more than customers. You have a loyal army of advocates and you’ve got the real impact of social media to thank for it.
About the Author
Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland digital agency specializing in website design, user experience and web app development.