The relentless rise of social media and Web 2.0 is radically altering the ways we interact socially and changing how we do business. When a single social media site is valued at $50billion, and when Presidents are elected and autocratic Governments fall, in part, due to the use of social media, we can safely assume social media is more than a fad for “Generation Y”, Marketing/PR departments, or IT “geeks”.
Increasingly, individuals – and even traditional mainstream media – rely on social media as a key source of news and opinion. Public figures and advocates of all stripes are using it to engage directly and immediately with their audiences. For many consumers, reviews and recommendations from peers, friends or family in social media have supplemented and even replaced many traditional corporate communications channels.
The field is dynamic and evolving, as evidenced by the varied fortunes of Google+, MySpace and others. But perhaps one statistic best explains the scale and pace of change; in March 2011 Facebook announced that it had more than 30 million UK users, equivalent to half the population, and over half a billion users worldwide. That is a market and a conversation that cannot be ignored.
In time, not having a social media presence will be like not having a telephone. However, in our view, many organisations and senior executives have yet to grasp the true significance of social media and the very real impact which it can have on their business and ways of working, directly affecting the bottom line.
Our experience proves that the opportunities are out there; empowering people through new ways of working enables organisations to capture, communicate and capitalise on the possibilities presented by social media, while mitigating risk.
Social media is not just for “geeks” and PRs; it can transform businesses too.
What is your take on social media? Do you believe that all businesses should adopt social media?