Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Social Media: Are You Listening?

Here's a thought; so often we yak about using social media for our benefit and communicating through this amazing medium.  Let's drive market share, increase customer loyalty, communicate with our old high school classmates, and stalk our exes (or is that just me?).  However, how often do we ask, "What does social media tell us and what exactly can I learn if I listen to it?"  Oooh...I feel so sensitive and in touch with myself.  In this analogy, I'm the sensitive male who just listened to a woman for the first time.  It feels so rewarding.  For both of us.

The epiphany of social media is its not only about how businesses and people communicate with consumers and friends.  It's also about how we listen to what social media tells us and apply its lessons to our businesses.

I suppose this hit me today after Josh had a rocking post on the Kindle DX.  After Josh e-mailed me, I clicked through to the article.  The comparison of the cost-benefit ratio of the Kindle DX as a replacement for the college textbook immediately brought to mind the cash-strapped college kid who loves gadgets thinking, "Ooooh...what sort of complicated financial analysis did Josh use to justify me purchasing this neat new toy?  It is SO sustainable!"  My first reaction was, "Wow...if people love reading about this and its the top gadget story on Reddit, we obviously know the demographic for the Gadget section on Reddit."

And then it hit me; social media is not only a portal for communication, but its also a raw insight into what interests people.  If you want to use social media, you have to be interesting to the people who are using it.  For example; if Josh blogged about AARP's use for the Kindle...no dice.  However, blogging about college textbooks?  Front page of Reddit.

For businesses, entrepreneurs, and serious bloggers/vloggers/tweeters, the lesson is simple; find the pulse of your target consumer, communicate with them in the medium they use (preferably social media), and you will be successful.

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