Social Media Facts & Fiction

As I often do on the weekend, I spend time reading about social media, among other subjects, always looking for new trends, technology, and ways to effectively use the same within marketing strategies for my franchise clients. Today I came across an interesting article about whether or not social media is a fad, or actually a part of our future. The article pointed out some fact and fiction that really sheds light on where social media is today, and a glimpse into its future.

In addition, I came across another article listing 11 Twitter and social media tools to try in 2011. Which poses the question, do we really need more tools? I say, “yes” but then again, I love social media, and all it has to offer!

Social Media: A Fad or the Future
By: Sital Ruparelia

As posted on Career Hub Blog

“We don’t have a choice on whether we DO use social media; the question is how well we DO it”
– Erik Qualman, Author of Socialnomics [Video Review]

FICTION: “Facebook is for kids”

FACT 1: Actually, the 40 – 55 years age group is the fastest growing demographic on Facebook.

And, of course, this demographic also has the highest disposable income, lowest debt levels and strongest professional network. Which is why businesses and recruiters are flocking to set up Facebook pages to engage with this group.

FACT 2: Over 50% of the world’s population are under 30

So in the next 10 years years ”The Facebook Generation” will be leading businesses, hiring people, making key commercial decisions (what a scary thought!) – and, of course, buying products and services

So if you don’t learn to engage and interact with this generation using the tools they use – both you and your business will be in serious trouble.

FICTION: “Facebook is just a fad”

FACT 1: Facebook has 500 million users across the world.

So if Facebook were a country it would have the 3rd highest population in the on the planet. Hardly a fad?

FACT 2: Two months ago, in September 2010, Forbes released its list of the 400 richest Americans.

The biggest headline: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted the largest wealth increase on the list, with his estimated net worth jumping 245% to $6.9 billion. Love him or loathe him, Zuckerberg has changed the way people around the world connect and engage – and it continues to grow as more businesses start leveraging Facebook.

FICTION: “Twitter is just some silly thing that kids and celebrities use”

FACT: Actually 60% of Fortune 500 firms now use Twitter.

In my opinion, Twitter is the fastest, smartest tool to get real-time information on any market news. I often know more about industry news in my clients’ worlds than they do – simply because I use Twitter as a real-time news channel from my mobile phone.

It’s also a super way to engage and build relationships with people and organisations you’d have difficulty doing in the offline world.

With the advent of smart phones (iPhone, Droid and new Blackberry) Twitter has opened up all kinds of commercial opportunities for building a tribe of followers, potential customers and potential employees.

FICTION: “LinkedIn is just for job seekers who can’t find work”

FACT 1: 70% of clients, prospects and potential employees will Google you before meeting with you. And when they do, your LinkedIn profile will often be on the first page.

So just remember, your LinkedIn profile will paint a picture of you before you’ve even spoken to or met anyone. It’s very much your online branding tool regardless of whether you’re job searching or not.

Have you got a profile so that you gain an advantage even before you speak or meet? If so, does it reflect how you want to be perceived by clients, stakeholders, recruiters and potential employers?

FACT 2: Every recruiter and HR team I know use LinkedIn as a sourcing and networking tool.

Especially when trying to headhunt passive candidates who may not actively be searching – but are open to hearing about interesting opportunities.

FACT 3: LinkedIn is currently fairly unsophisticated. But in the pipeline are a series of upgrades which will transform how many firms use LinkedIn to recruit talent and how many of you will find jobs in the future.

FICTION: “You MUST be on these platforms. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are the future”

FACT: Well actually it’s not about the platforms or tools – but about the message. About the way you use social media to engage, interact and build your brand.

The internet and social media are still very much in their infancy. What we’re seeing is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s much more to come – so don’t obsess about one or two platforms. Focus on your message and your brand so that you can adapt to the tools that seem most relevant to your needs and style.

FICTION: “You need to be really good with technology to fully leverage social media”

FACT: I’m rubbish with technology so if it were all about technology, I wouldn’t have a clue!

But I am good at relationship building and engaging with people – which is what social media is all about.

So focus on learning how to use social media as an engagement tool and brand-building platform – instead of worrying about how to use the technology and which button to press – you’ll figure that out as you go. So just get started.

Many “social media experts” will have you believe that social media represents the “biggest shift since the industrial revolution.”

That’s quite a statement.

Others will tell you it’s a complete time dump; just a fad which will pass. The reality is that no one really knows where it’s heading. But one thing we do know is that social media is here to stay and will continue to play a bigger part of our lives and careers.

Serious businesses are making profits, selling products, building brands and hiring talent using social media tools.

And they’re doing it today – not some time in the future. Which means you simply can’t afford to ignore it….

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