Forgive me, but every time I see a blog post like this one saying that social media helps your business I let out a very loud “OMG”. Almost everywhere you look online these days there is some debate about whether or not social media can actually help your business. Each week there are new tools to help you measure the return on investment of being social. And there are all sorts of experts helping you understand how being social can boost your sales.
The reason for my amazement is that this all appears to be a surprise to people. It’s as though there has been some kind of revolutionary awakening with business leaders going “Goodness me, being social and actually talking to our customers helps? We must try some of that.” Let’s get the facts straight: business has ALWAYS been social. It has always been about PEOPLE connecting with other people. Period. That’s business. Social media is NOT NEW. Indeed, those of us old enough to recall the late-1970s mainframe driven technology revolution will remember “bulletin boards” where business people used to chat online with their suppliers and customers. That was social media – 35 years ago…!
And when the Encyclopedia Britannica relied on door-to-door sales staff who would come knocking on your door of an evening and get your Dad to buy a set of books and a lovely shelf to put them on, guess what – that salesman was being social. Gosh, your Dad even invited him in and gave him a cup of tea. And every Friday after school I used to rush home because that’s when the United Friendly Insurance Man came to call and he always had a tube of Fruitgums for me. He was social.
Every business activity is social. Every business activity involves people talking with other people. Shop keepers talk to their customers, suppliers make friends with their customers and people who buy things go back to certain places because the “people there are friendly”. Social activity is what makes business survive. So why are so many business owners surprised that online social tools can help their business?
Indeed, there is reticence amongst many business leaders to engage in online social activity. They want “proof” it works, it seems – which kind of suggests they haven’t yet “got” that their business IS social. Business leaders also are frightened that being social online will expose them to all sorts of mayhem and problems.
However, new research confirms – yet again – that the fears are ungrounded and the successes are there for the taking.
According to a study from Pulse Point Group, businesses that are socially engaged are earning up to 7% more than similar businesses which avoid online social technologies. This merely adds to previous studies which show that the companies which do the most social media have increased their profits and also have raised their share prices. In other words being social – whether that’s online or offline – increases your bottom line and raises the value of your business.
The United Friendly insurance man who came to my house every Friday afternoon realised that. It seems he was way ahead of many of today’s business leaders who are still searching for “evidence” that being social is going to help their business. OMG.
- Only 49% of Marketers Have Integrated Social Into Brand Building [STUDY] (mashable.com)
- Is Riding the Zuckerberg Social Media Train Dangerous for Your Business? (soshable.com)
- 56% said their social media resulted in new leads and partnerships (justinflitter.co.nz)
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+