Is Size Really an Issue?

How it is…

First thoughts are that ALL businesses, regardless of size, should be using social mediatape-measure-145397_960_720.png.  It’s obvious….go out and shout about your product, use the platform to promote your product and spread your good business name, interact with your customers and reach new potential customers ….it’s bound to produce positive results, isn’t it?  Apparently it’s not that simple.  According to research, small and medium sized businesses who joined the flow of companies signing up to social media and began ‘tweeting’ and ‘posting’ have seen little or no results from their efforts.  Large companies, however, continue to value this tool and integrate social media into their marketing mix.  So whats going wrong???

Social media is very much about interaction and not so much about advertising what you want.  It is user driven, so if the user has no interest in your posts then that is where the message will stop.  If however, the posts are intriguing, inviting etc then this will trigger response from the user and interaction begins.  This can be a very slow process which requires patience and regular posting, few small and medium sized businesses have the resources to commit to such relationship building but that is exactly what social media is about….relationship building.  It builds brand loyalty which may not show in monetary terms on the bottom line instantly but customer retention and loyalty is often worth a great deal to businesses in the long term.

And then of course there is the other factor of larger companies being able to employ specialised team members who understand the latest tools available on the different social sites and are dedicated to this part of the business alone.  Often in smaller companies, it is the owner who sets up the social media pages and writes the posts, thus not maximising the capability of the available tools to their full potential.

 

How it could be…

Not all companies have a budget dedicated to social media, in particular small businesses and non-profit companies fall into this category, but that doesn’t have to exclude them from reaping the potential benefits of social media sites.  LinkedIn, for example, is a particularly good site where individuals post their professional profiles, this offers great potential for networking with like minded people and small companies and non-profit companies should take advantage of this facility when recruiting.

Small businesses are often operated by someone who has technical skills in a particular field but may not necessary be educated in social media.  Chances are there is a young person close by, either a teenage son or daughter or even an employee, who is very comfortable with the ins and outs of social media sites….get them on side and start building meaningful relationships with your customers!

It is important to recognise how social media has changed.  Gone are the days when people  would check their social sites as a past time in the evening, hands-1167618_960_720maybe even just a couple of times a week, but with the development of android phones and tablets people are now constantly connected, they leave their home where they were connected to the WIFI and their 3G or 4G kicks in until they reach their place of work which will then connect them via WIFI.  This instantaneous connection to the web gives people more opportunity to access their social sites, email, chat etc as and when they like, meaning that businesses need to be proactive and ready to respond and interact with their customers.

 

Some Observations…                                                                                                       idea-1019741_960_720

Increasingly I am viewing the social sites I belong to in a different light.  Once over I would log in at any spare moment and check what friends and family are up to. Now however I often find myself looking beyond that.  For instance one thing I have been drawn to is the way many large companies are increasing their reach of potential customers.  Many of these large organisations post a competition to win a prize of sorts and all you have to do to enter is to ‘like’ their page, comment on the post then ‘share’ the post with friends.  If only 5% of friends do this from each share the amount of visibility that one post would get is incredible and suddenly because those taking part in this are ‘liking’ the page the organisations reach has grown considerably too.  This is an incredible easy way to grow the number of people who are listed on a companies data base at relatively low cost (just the give away prize, as it is an incentive it should be exactly that and not just a $50 voucher!). Very easily implemented by any business whatever the size. If you have any other ideas how small businesses can use social media effectively I would love to hear, clearly it is not as simple as creating a page and leaving it roll!

Every time I research another blog it never ceases to amaze me how technology is developing at an ever increasing rate, so it’s understandable that many of us find it  difficult to keep up.  What is being highlighted is how important it is to not get left behind! Keep sharing!

 

References:

Casserly, M. (2013). Why small businesses are losing on social media. [Article] Forbes.com, 31-33 Forbes.com 4/17/2013 Page 31

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow…

Yesterday…..

My grandparents lived through a time where they saw huge developments; the launch of the car, invention of air and space travel, to name a few. I often wondered what inventions would be successful in my lifetime, but be taken for granted by my children, to the point where life without it would be unimaginable? It was hard to believe any such product would exist, UNTIL the introduction of the World Wide Web,  invented by Sir Tim Bernes-Lee in 1989 and launched a couple of years later.

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The world wide web was amazing!  It changed everything! It could replace your daily news papers, encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc but  best of all it was all accessible from one place, your desk top computer! Articles, websites and news were all published and read by the user, this platform, Web 1.0, was soon overtaken by what we now know as Web 2.0, named as such by Darcy DiNucci in 1999 but made popular in 2004 by Tim O’Rielly CEO of O’Rielly Media. The technical ability of Web2.0 enabled interaction between the author and their audience, encouraging feedback and participation.  It allowed people to communicate with one another, instantly making the world a much smaller place. Users determined what was important on the web and readily shared it with their friends.  The development of mobile devices such a phones and tablets made staying in touch so much easier, for this generation the internet began to be part of every day life.

 

Today….

It doesn’t stop there! We are now experiencing even more advanced technology.  Web 3.0 takes the features offered by Web 2.0 to another level, to the extent that Web 3.0 is also known as Semantic Web. Semantic Web technologies add meaning and assist the user.  For example, when completing a form, the program recognises this and assists by prompting you.  Artificial Intelligence is increasingly being utilised, allowing us to talk to our phone and give it commands, for example; ‘Siri’ on Apple products….this interaction between people and technology provides hours of fun in our house!  Artificial Intelligence also includes translation of languages, this is available on Google, finger print recognition and face recognition….all of this is happening now!

smart-fridge-hack-samsung-gmailWe have also seen the development of what is known as the Internet of Things (IoT), now this is amazing…It basically takes normal every day items and gives them he capability to interact with other devices and people. Fridges are programmed to identify when certain items are running low and sends a message to your phone alerting you of this, you can also scan products in and record their use by dates, the fridge will advise you of imminent expiration of products!  Although this technology is not commonly used yet, it is available and will most definitely be going on my wish list!

Image from http://www.d.ibtimes.co.uk

 

Tomorrow…

It is mind blowing to see how fast the World Wide Web has developed. Already technical experts are working on Web 4.0 and 5.0 technologies which will no doubt be as incredible as what we experiencing today. Below is an image which indicates the direction the internet is moving towards.  If you are anything like me you will be sat there right now in disbelief at how amazing this technology and its capability is…my brain is buzzing!

 

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Image from http://www.slideshare.net

References:

http://www.cambridgesemantics.com/semantic-university/introduction-semantic-web

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/artificial-intelligence

http://www.theguardian.com

Anderson, p. (2012). Web2.0 and beyond: Principles and technologies. CRC Press, Boca Raton , FL.

 

Loving Social Media…

This morning I was sat in the waiting area at the Doctors, in the corner there was a neatly stacked pile of magazines which were all in pretty good nick. I looked around and not one person had picked up a magazine and was reading it. Instead, 5 out of the 6 people who were sat in the waiting area were flicking through their mobile phones.

I find it exciting but unbelievable how times have changed! I remember my mum taking me to the Drs and the magazines in the waiting area were dog eared due to the amount of people handling them (eeek! to think how easy it was for all those germs to spread!) but now very few people actually bother to even to look at them to see if there is anything of interest, and why should they? Everything they need is at their fingertips. Gone are the days where marketers, journalists and alike would create and publish a document or article on a website or in a newspaper and the audience would simply read the article, Web 1.0. The internet has moved on far from there to Web 2.0, which is a platform that allows and very much encourages interaction between the author and its readers. Examples are sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Wikipedia and Instagram to name a few.

 

cell-phone

Social Media plays a huge role on Web2.0, it provides a way for people to connect, communicate and participate. It is well known that word of mouth advertising is incredibly powerful but this has been taken to a whole new level with individuals sharing their experiences with the world via social media.By embracing the communication power of social media, businesses are able to extend their reach to people they may never have been able to target before. Just imagine, the lady sitting opposite me could have been ‘tweeting’ about the amazing service she received in the cafe where she had just been for breakfast, this post is shown on her friends news feed, of which she has 200 within the local area. A couple of her friends then shares her post, which allows 200+ friends to see on their Facebook and suggests to a friend they should try it next week…..and so it goes on. Powerful advertising for that cafe! We must remember it can also work in the opposite way!

 

Now for some technical stuff..                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             STES-Planning

In practically every work place sits a computer ( if there isn’t one, there should be!), however the computer alone is purposeless. It is only when a person operates the hardware to activate the software, does the system become meaningful. It is this interaction which develops between the individual using the hardware, to access certain software, and following certain procedures, in a specific work-space, whilst working within the reams of societies rules and laws, which is known as a Socio-technical system.

Socio-technical systems is  a term which refers to the complete ‘system’ from the technical components to the human operating systems and society. For businesses it is important to realise how the components of the system are interlinked and one can not function to its full potential without the others. Once this seamless interaction is developed the impact on the business is very positive.

Remember…..It’s good to share!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All About Me…

I am a 42 year old mother to three children ages 16, 13 and 11 years old. At present I am studying full time as a student at Massey University…I am actually trying to study at home using the materials from Massey!

Just entering into my second year and as part of my Social Media for Business paper, here I am writing a blog about how useful it can be to share information about your business to the unknown audience who sits somewhere in the world surfing the web.

10 years ago I was working as a qualified Dispensing Optician and store manager in the north west of England, never would I have believed anyone who told me that I would be shortly be moving to the other side of the world, let alone returning to full time study whilst juggling family life.

Now living in Auckland, life is (as kiwis say…) sweet as!  The children have adapted to new schools and sports and my husband is now home every night after work, as opposed to our UK style of living where he would return home Friday nights and set back to work early Monday morning.  When people tell you living in NZ is all about the lifestyle, for us it really was!

Anyway, on with ‘The blog’…. each week I will be posting one or two posts aimed at how you can use Social Media to benefit your business. Hopefully you will find them informative and with any luck you may even find them interesting and want to let me know your thoughts. I would love to read your feedback and anything else you would like to contribute. Enjoy!