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Explaining Social Media to Businesses in 2 Words.

Posted by Marjorie Signer on May 12, 2009

As I was enjoying my visit to the New Media Cincy Unconference(#newmediacincy)trend setter and uber-successful marketing queen of all things important to women Debba Haupert (@girlfriendology) asked “How do you explain social media to your clients when you say the word Twitter and they look at you like you’ve just begun speaking Martian?”

 Giggling, Sara Carbaugh (@rightclickos) and I looked at one another and in unison said “You Don’t!”

Now that’s a pretty flippant answer and wholly unsocial for two gals standing in the middle of 60 people who use a dozen or more platforms to socialize 24/7. But the fact that we both said it so quickly tells an awful lot about the growing divide between businesses who “get it” and those that don’t.

 So what’s the more gentle and persuasive way to shepherd our 20th Century colleagues into the light?  Here’s a quick and dirty summary of what social media can mean to business and the single most compelling reason your friendly neighborhood business owners should care:

Many thanks to Brian Solis for these wonderfully clear definitions:

Social Media (noun): social media describes the onlinetools that people use to share content, profiles, opinions, insights, experiences, perspectives and media itself, thus facilitating conversations and interaction online between groups of people. These tools include blogs, message boards, podcasts, micro blogs, lifestreams, bookmarks, networks, communities, wikis, and vlogs.

 Social Media (verb): is the democratization of content and the understanding of the role people play in the process of not only reading and disseminating information, but also how they share and create content for others to participate. It is the shift from a broadcast mechanism to a many-to-many model, rooted in a conversational format between authors and people.

In a nutshell, social media breaks down the walls of authority, hierarchy and secrecy and gives all people, regardless of race, creed, culture, economic status, or education the opportunity to share their opinion. More importantly, social media affords us all an opportunity to participate in robust discussions that will hopefully bring many truths to light and dispel many myths.  

The impact social media has on business can be summed up in 2 words. Customer Confidence.

We heard an awful lot about this term a few months ago when the economy took its long walk off a short pier. At the end of the day, customers don’t buy products they don’t believe in and clients don’t do business with companies they don’t trust.

Engaging in conversation with the world using social media tools builds trust. Plain and simple. How you ask? We’ll cross that bridge tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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6 Responses to “Explaining Social Media to Businesses in 2 Words.”

  1. Debba said

    Whoo hoooo! Thanks for including me in your great blog. It is a fun question to ponder isn’t it!

    I agree – ‘consumer confidence’ is an awesome result of social media. But I also think there is so much more – that’s why it’s so hard to define. I sent out a tweet last week that got the attention of a magazine who wrote about me this week. I’ve met business partners, generated business, grown my influence which appeals to lots of businesses, etc. And, through social media groups (with wonderful passionate people!) we’ve taken online off-line and I had the opportunity to meet Marjorie and others.

    It’s a cool way to connect and build connections. And, I’m hooked!

    Thanks again for including me – fab article!!!

  2. Another awesome post! Love Brian’s definitions and the graphic puts it all into perspective. Love the point you make about social media breaking down the walls of difference between us. I think that it becomes, in essence, the Great Equalizer.

    The key is reaching the uninitiated who could benefit from joining in the conversation. You are making that first step possible by creating awareness, and awareness leads to enlightenment!

    Keep those words flowing!!

    Michelle Beckham-Corbin
    http://twitter.com/michellebeckham

  3. Love the graphic! It’s a wonderful time to be in business with all the social media tools available today. …and use them, I do!

  4. Seth Wyatt said

    Excellent! I truly appreciate articles like this. I struggle to have the best response to people, clients and everyone in between concerning SM . Articles like this get me that much more excited about our possibilities in SM.

    Thanks @Sethjwyatt

  5. […] [Title Picture Courtsey: Marjorie Signer.] […]

  6. Hey Marjorie! I remember when this post first came out and how much I loved that visual because it explains it so clearly.

    Hope you’re doing well.

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