1. Customers are increasingly there … in huge numbers
The phenomenal growth in the numbers of people on Social Networks and consuming Social Media can no longer be ignored. The recent Nielsen report on the five fastest Social Media (Global Faces and Networked Places) portals found that:
Twitter is now the fastest growing Social Media app. It grew 1,382 percent in the past year and has more than 7 million people tweeting away.
Facebook has more than 65 million people friending away and grew 228 percent in the past year.
MySpace and its teen-friendly vibe get roughly 75 million unique visitors a month (putting it ahead of Facebook’s 57 million).
LinkedIn and its business-networking members now number more than 33 million.
Wikipedia and other wiki-like information portals now have nearly 4 million contributors signed up to add to the information pool.
If these Social Media destinations have populations rivaling good-sized countries ... countries whose populations grow several hundred percent each year ... don’t you want to do business with these new “countries”?
2. Employees are there … more than you think
These vast populations include many of the people who work for you (and those who wish they worked for you).
According to survey data from 2007 (the most recent available), more than 75 percent of employees at U.S. companies are online, but not doing company business, for part of their business day. Of these, more than a third check in on social networks.
According to a Kiplinger Report story from July 2008 a growing number of U.S. employers have realized the value of social networks and have begun setting up internal networks where employees share ideas, best practices and future plans.
If your employees (present and future) are there shouldn’t you be there?
3. Competitors are there … and talking to your customers
A quick search on Facebook for the term “IBM” finds more than 500 groups dedicated to talking about and talking for IBM. A search for “New York Times” also finds more than 500 groups.
Check Twitter and you find a similar trend: More than 90 Twitter accounts have IBM as part of their name. The New York Times’ main Twitter account touches nearly 400,000 followers and that number is growing quickly.
Try it now: Search for your competitor on Social Media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook. See what they say about themselves and see what they say about you.
4. Intelligence is there … you will gain important insights
You can simply follow the streams of conversation in Social Media or deploy Social Media monitoring tools such as the one offered by Techrigy to know what people are talking about and whether they have a positive or negative view of your company and its products.
This type of intelligence cannot be had anywhere else. It also allows insight, response and reaction in real time.
5. Money is there … for the making and for the taking
People use Social Media for all kinds of purposes, but in one way, shape or form it’s about sharing information.
This information is a currency that can, and often does, influence spending decisions.
If Social Media is become THE place to share information it is also becoming THE place to learn before buying.
In an age where traditional push media (newspapers, magazines, radio and television) are losing audience at an alarming rate, Social Media and its pull - or sharing - approach is booming as a place for people to connect and get things done. Shouldn’t you and your business be there?