Today on Social Media Today, Andrew Hutchinson discussed how we have to stop talking about the individual social platforms so much and start talking about what audience trends the usage of these social networks reveals about these audiences. Here are 5 key takeaways from his analysis.
"Social media has transformed the way we communicate, an evolutionary shift that’s not going to recede or disappear."
Unfortunately, many companies and organizations continue to fight this reality, longing for pre-social media days. Yet, social media is forever engrained in our society, and even if Facebook or Twitter disappear, people will continue to flock to new platforms for their news, customer service issues, connecting with friends, peers, and mentors, and yes, sharing photos of their lunch.
"The recent Apple vs the FBI case (which has now been resolved) serves as a reminder of just how far consumer behavior has evolved – or at least, how much consumer sentiment has shifted in regards to online tracking and data privacy."
The truth is, we are willing to compromise our privacy in order to use our smartphones and surf the web. In fact, Apple's terms and conditions flat out say that they have the right to collect our data, and we happily oblige when we click "accept" because the alternative is to not be able to use your smartphone.
"It’s becoming increasingly normal for our behaviors and habits to be tracked, and that’s only going to become more embedded as wearable devices also become more commonplace, tracking and uploading our inner workings 24/7."
Piggybacking off of our willingness to be tracked through our smartphones, people are gladly trading privacy for the convenience of wearable technology. Every app we install, every new social media platform we join, and every new piece of wearable technology we buy--all of these chip away at our privacy, but we accept it because we're each trying to simplify, streamline and make our lives more interesting.
"What we’re learning, via social media and other evolving online platforms, is how to target audiences more specifically, how to use these new data trends to fuel our marketing efforts, how to locate and connect with like-minded people on a scale never before possible."
Part of social media's explosive popularity is the ability for people to connect with people who share their same interests, whether that interest is pickling vegetables or road bowling, the Carolina Panthers or the Denver Broncos, cats or dogs. In the same way, it's important for brands to recognize that they are one of those communities for their customers and must help facilitate connections between these audience members if they want the community to continue to be seen as worthy of being a part of for their fans.
"For those of you not utilizing social, you’re missing out on a whole new way of thinking, of learning your audience behaviors and trialing and testing new ways to connect. And while you’re debating the value of these platforms, whether they’ll be a fad and whether Facebook will be overtaken the way MySpace was all those years back, those who are getting involved are learning."
This, really, is the crux of why you must join social platforms as a business. These platforms allow us to learn more about our customers than we ever have before, and if you're still hanging back, you're going to be left behind.
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