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Social Media: An Idea Whose Time Had Come

May 12, 2010

Social Networking Site LogosAs I noted in a recent post and presentation, social media is a great way to reach out inexpensively. And of course, cheap marketing tactics are nice when communications budgets are tight, as they are right now in a recession.

But this excellent blog entry entitled How the Recession Sparked Social Media notes that social networking sites are much more than just cheap advertising venues. The author contends (and I agree), that the fact that social media has experienced such rapid growth in the last year — in tandem with this recession — is no coincidence. This is a message medium whose time has come — it’s risen to widespread acceptance now because it’s served a key purpose in a weak economy.

Social media provides a way for “brands” (or small businesses, nonprofits, and higher education institutions) to engage in a two-way dialogue with “customers” (or donors/volunteers/beneficiaries or students/faculty/staff), enabling the best ones to set themselves apart through conversation.

Being on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and more is essentially a way for forward-thinking organizations to market themselves — yes, inexpensively — but more importantly, building awareness, goodwill, and trust. Through simply “being there” for their consumer, such organizations meet their customers where they are.

And while you can’t put a dollar figure on awareness, goodwill, and trust, we all know they’re good to have, because when customers/audiences do have $$ to spend, those entities are the ones they will patronize.

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