Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Social Media: The Value Of Conversation

Welcome! Allow me to first introduce myself. My name is Debie Lachman, and I am a media marketing enthusiast. I am also currently an MBA Media Management student at Metropolitan College of New York. I have a strong background in art, advertising and communications design producing various projects from desktop publishing to branding, photography, advertising campaigns, print media, typography, and market research. See my website www.debielachman.com for sample works.

Being a native to the “social” media world which is in the midst of a miraculous technological transition, I have seen and experienced the best of both worlds. It seems like just yesterday I was submitting my assignments on floppy disks, where today, I am doing everything digitally.

Coming from a communications design background producing print advertising campaigns, the times of trimming and mounting ads has become obsolete and unnecessary manual labor. All the hard work of perfecting edges and applying glue to ensure the images held in place takes away from allowing the limited viewers to focus on the actual campaign.This is no longer the case; social media has emerged, allowing mass communication with many rooms full of media experts anywhere, at any time. Artists can display an array of works all over the Internet and generate conversations online about their works. This new media can help any individual or organization find a voice online, and that's exactly what it has become!

If you are reading this blog, you probably have already figured out the growing importance of getting your information from the Internet, and would be surprised how many people still do not understand the value of social media networks. However, as the video below shows, there are many who still do not understand that social media networking sites such as, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have become immensely popular over the years and have grown to become the norm as the platform for engaging others of thought, ideas, and overall personality, whether as an individual or organization.

The potential of Facebook has far exceeded the expectations of businesses and marketing professionals. What first started as a site to for college students to socialize or to connect family and friends that you might not see on a regular basis has become a platform for daily conversation and a tool to encourage brand awareness. The very same stage used to highlight one's personality created a domino effect of influence worldwide, closing the barriers of local and long distance. Many in search of lost friends and family members have also adapted to this new media, creating even larger communities online, all living as neighbors in a virtual world. Not being a part of this virtual community as an organization is almost equivalent to being non-existent.

Twitter is another sensation to hit the online world. According to BBC News and technology reporter, Maggie Shiels, Twitter has now accrued 200 million users and its popularity continues to grow. And yet, what is Twitter many still ask? That's simple, Twitter is a real-time information network that connects one to the latest information about what they may find interesting. The most unique aspect of this particular social network is that each Tweet is 140 characters in length, encouraging users to become creative within that space. While this all sounds great for individuals, another question many are facing is how Twitter can help them improve or grow their businesses. Twitter connects businesses to customers in real-time by sharing information quickly with those who are interested in their product and services. By gathering real-time market intelligence and feedback, businesses can improve their product and services, build relationships with their consumers to produce overall customer satisfaction.

Now, if Facebook and Twitter is not your thing, LinkedIn is yet another option, and perhaps the most important one in a professional world. LinkedIn is a professional social networking site that helps one establish a professional profile, stay in touch with colleagues and friends, find experts and ideas, and explore opportunities. How is this different from any other social media site you ask? Well, LinkedIn actually allows you to control the first impression people get when searching for you online; this is because LinkedIn profiles rise to the top of search results.

It is critical for today’s small business managers and owners to understand that in today's competitive economy, efficiency helps in the decision making process of consumers if they are to leverage the benefits of social media networks for the businesses. If positive information about your product is readily available, it can only work in your favor. Businesses who do not engage in conversations with their consumers on a personal level lose vital information on consumer satisfaction. These new media networks have replaced traditional public relations methods, by giving any one individual or business the control to promote and market their brands using pure conversation online.

For many companies and individuals, not having a presence online can be perceived as being practically non-existent, and so, therefore, establishing an online presence and understanding the basics of online and social media marketing is a critical start up requirement if you hope to compete as a business today.

Just imagine a world where online users are eager to share ideas, comments, and suggestions about what you are providing them and how to improve so they can continue to support your product or services! This is all possible with social media.

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