The Facebook IPO, Twitter’s stellar IPO a week ago, and Zuckerberg’s collaboration with Cisco all spell one thing, in big bold letters. The business side of social media is ramping up quickly, and I don’t mean for the big internet companies. I mean for yours.
Follow the Trend
None of these three examples are specifically great harbingers of new B2C solutions, but they illustrate a trend, which is undeniable. That trend is what is headed in your direction as a local or small business owner. The Facebook/Cisco situation may illustrate this best.
Using hardware from Cisco, Facebook is setting up free wifi hotspots in small and/or local businesses in towns around the globe. They started the experiment with over 1000 businesses in more than 50 countries.
The only requirement to use the wifi is that you log on with your Facebook credentials. Then Facebook is able to track your activity and record data that they will give to the retailers, who can then broadcast deals and coupons to consumers.
The big players want to help small businesses, because they get rewarded as well. Facebook is already the largest user base on the web, but how many more shoppers might sign up for an account if they get savings pushed to their smartphone when they are out and about?
This is just one example of how the social media companies are going to help a lot of businesses make it through the “social business” transition we are seeing and come out thriving on the other side. Yet there are still companies fighting the tide.
Now is the time to grow your social media following as much as possible. That doesn’t mean you can spam and shortcut your way to a large fan base though, because fake followers don’t buy things. You have to do it organically and the right way, but you need to exert some extra effort to do it as quickly as possible.
This “online social media meets local and live in person” trend is only now gaining momentum, but it won’t be long before those who are involved and engaged with social channels start reaping some really big benefits. The more “likes”, followers, and fans you have on social media, the bigger your gains will be as new techniques are developed for converting them into sales.
Getting up to speed with social media can take some time, so if you are already significantly behind the curve or just need help with your efforts, look into a social media manager who can help shoulder some of the load as you gear up.