More than just a new form of communication, social media is completely changing the way we interact. Here are some examples of how social media is changing our everyday lives:
How we meet and stay in touch with people – Social media is making it easier than ever before to stay in touch with old friends, and meet new people with similar interests. And increasingly social media sites are encouraging people to bring online relationships offline through things like tweet-ups, online dating, meet-up groups, and communal dining. One in eight married couples in the US met through social media.
Who we trust – The rise of online market places like ebay and gumtree, review sites like tripadvisor, eatability and urban spoon, and peer-to-peer sharing and renting sites like airbnb, and sharehood, all mean we are placing a greater level of trust in our peers, and less in big companies and advertising. According to a suryvey by RightNow, 58% of people deem customer reviews and feedback online to the be the most important source to influence decision making, with advertising of any shape or form the least important.
Where we receive our news – Rather relying on traditional media outlets, many people now prefer to get their news through social media sites like twitter and facebook, where it can be filtered through friends and people they choose. The New York Times now has more twitter followers than print circulation.
How we do business – Because of it’s relatively low cost, social media has levelled the playing field for small and medium businesses with less budget and more time on their hands. Whereas traditional marketing required big money to push your message out, social media is more about adding value to your client, and influencing them to tell each other about you. It’s a new paradigm or ‘play to play’ rather than ‘pay to play’.
What we reveal about ourselves – Online people are revealing more about themselves than ever before, including their likes, dislikes, opinions and evens faults and fears. In this new paradigm, it’s now more important for both people and brands to be more transparent and ‘human’.
How we consume – People are increasingly looking online to buy, sell, trade, swap, share and give away goods and services. This is having a major impact on all areas of our lives from shopping (ebay, gumtree, foursquare, online coupon sites) to travel (airbnb, /houseswap/couch surfing), charity (Kiva) and peer-to-peer rental (for music, DVDs, cars, living space, offices).
Social media is having a huge impact on many aspects of our lives, presenting many unique opportunities for businesses to connect with customers in new and exciting ways. If you would like to discuss some of these with an experienced social media consultant, contact social central today.