Social media has made the world seem like a very small place despite geographical boundaries and distance between populations.
When a nation needed help these past few weeks they turned to social media for aid. Social media tools have become a lifeline in the wake of the earthquake devastation in Haiti. Platforms likes Facebook and Twitter have once again proven that they are effective tools for spreading information and connecting with people across the globe.
According to CNN, social media’s instant communication has had a significant impact on Haiti relief. The viral spread of charity text message campaigns that were posted on profiles and tweeted nationally have raised more than $11 million for Haiti victim relief. Thousands of tweets, re-tweets, TwitPics and status updates were shared and viewed as this devastating disaster unfolded. Both celebrities and civilians helped to spread the word and raise awareness. Within hours of the disaster, mass viral communication was well underway. Social media has made it easy for people to find out valuable information and respond to the news quickly.
Haiti is one of several major world events that Social Media has become the stage for. In the past few weeks social media has also had an impact on world news in places like China and Iran. Both Twitter and Facebook have allowed us to encounter real-time communication and information as the courses of these events have evolved globally.
Businesses are now finding successful ways to capitalize on social media’s global reach and impact. We have worked with several clients who have been able to achieve great results through both Twitter and Facebook. Businesses are now able to offer their serves as either a relief to a global crisis or as a source for a solution internationally. Companies like Unites Airlines, Spirit Airlines, FedEx, Office Max, Cisco and Texas Instruments have seen success in using social media to build a relationship and brand awareness with clients all around the world.
Social media allows businesses to spread information quickly and in real-time. These free platforms allow businesses to connect with customers from different sides of the globe, discuss ideas, generate buzz, establish a brand, spread awareness and even raise millions of dollars in relief funds. Social media is and will continue to be an impactful tool in an ever-growing number of ways.
I have worked in sales and marketing since I graduated college. I am a fan of marketing and take pleasure in seeing creative ads on TV, radio, and online. I love the “Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign from Dos Equis. I crack up every time I see that commercial for Heineken where the couple is showing off their new house and the woman takes her girlfriends to a huge walk-in closet and the men get a tour of a huge walk-in cooler filled with beer (Heineken, of course). I don’t mind watching the 15-30 second commercial before the videos I watch on Comcast.net. I didn’t ask for the commercial, but I know its coming and I am fine with it.
Here’s is what I don’t like about marketing: disingenuous product endorsements. Celebrities get paid big money to endorse a product, but rarely do I believe they use the product of their own choosing. Call me cynical, but I don’t think Tiger Woods (maybe a bad example here given his current decline in sponsorship deals) drives a Buick. But I understand that is part of the game, Buick pays (or paid) Tiger big money to participate in commercials promoting the Buick brand. I know he is being paid and if I choose to buy a Buick based on Tiger’s endorsement, I do so with full knowledge Tiger is paid to say good things about Buick.
This same strategy should also be applied by businesses using Twitter to promote their brand, product, or service. There needs to be transparency with how you deliver the message as well as the message itself. When you use Twitter to promote your company, be clear with your followers. You can be creative with coupons or discounts to reward your followers. Running contests and “tweeting” about it can be a great way to get additional word of mouth and increase your base. Social media users are very savvy these days and can see through a veiled attempt to promote a product, service, or brand if you are not fully disclosing why you are reaching out to them.
There have been some high profile stories lately where companies have used celebrities to promote their brand without disclosing that the celebrity is being paid to tweet about the product. Once the stories broke, there was an understandable backlash as social media users felt somewhat betrayed by the message. This type of revelation can lead to bad press and direct people to consider your company as dishonest. This is easily avoided by keeping your message clear and transparent. It is perfectly acceptable to promote that you want to increase your followers, and you are willing to reward them for their loyalty. There is no need to trick people into providing that loyalty. Creative and honest promotions can accomplish the main goal of growing your base without the risk of turning off potential customers and losing credibility.
Have you ever bought an item and made a tweet about it or placed it under your Facebook status? If you have and you like sharing your current shopping trends, there is a social media site available which provides that opportunity for you.
Blippy allows visitors to view its users current shopping expenses, encouraging visitors to buy something that a user from Blippy has bought. In a way this site is advertising the companies and products where users have recently bought their items. This site can also help study the shopping trends of people and help companies in many ways by providing information regarding the purchases made at their store and other stores. Even though this site has only started providing this service since December, its goal is to continue to expand by creating a mobile version in the future, as well as creating an API to allow its data to be shown in other applications.
Blippy also brings a very interesting topic to mind, and that is how much personal information people are willing to share on the Internet. This can be in some cases a reason for people to stay away from the site since it contains sensitive information, but it also provides them the ability to view other user’s trends/expenses.
It would be very interesting to see this site considered in the future on Google product search results, as it provides current information regarding shopping trends, similarly to how Google results are being affected by Twitter and Facebook.