A few days ago I posted an article about how we’ve move away from the ‘E’ to the ‘Social’ era and it is interesting to note how far have we came since those days. I’m definitely happy to have witnessed the beginning of the Internet, the glorious days of Netscape Navigator (it was THE web browser, if you didn’t know), the rise of ICQ and the list goes on.
Looking back at those times, there are 5 lessons we can actually learn from to be applied in today’s ‘social’ world.
Lesson #1: Only The Fools Rush In
I personally know of someone that bought many domain names during the dot-com boom at a hefty price. He was convinced that they’re going to sell because he saw the potential of the internet. Some of these domain names were pretty good (and we’ve seen how people have been making big bucks of it) so he held on to them, just waiting for the right time.. until today – and it’s still there.
It is no longer a time where the number of accounts / websites you have make you look good. In fact, it hardly even matters anymore. It is all about having the right tools to do the right job. Don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against securing long-tail-keyworded domain names, unique Twitter handles or Facebook usernames but the question is: does that help you in achieving your goals or will it merely pull you down? Understand where your target audience is and focus in making that work for you and your customers.
Lesson #2: It’s Just Not a Numbers Game
Now, you may be thinking that it is still a numbers game as metrics such as number of unique visitors, click throughs, retweets and shares are important in measuring ROI on social media. That’s true, to a certain extent. However, most businesses today are looking towards the level of engagement you have on social media.
In other words, you may have 1,000 page views per day but if you’re unable to receive any kind of response (e.g. retweets, shares or comments), it still does not justify anything. Same goes to the number of followers or the number of fans on your Facebook page. It’s the level of engagement that counts and the number is secondary. Focus on building relationships with your customers by catching up with them every once in awhile.
Lesson #3: The Stakes are Higher
Gone were the days that you can simply start a business website, ignore the customers and yet make sales. With social networks kicking in, the news can travel within literally a click of a button. Social media has empowered customers to be more vocal and open with their thoughts, which can be both advantageous and detrimental to your business.
Which side do you want to be on? I’d prefer the former. If you’re like me, you would definitely want to listen to what the customers have to say and get them talking positively about you.
Lesson #4: It is No Longer About You
Your website looks impressive. You’ve utilized text, images and videos effectively and you have stated all your strengths and abilities to the very best – in fact, you look like an expert, second to none in the industry. What’s your social presence / credibility? Zero. You can talk about yourself all that you want on your website, Facebook and Twitter accounts but customers do not care. Rather, they’ll run away on sight.
Customers have become the focal point in every brand / business that is online. What good is your expertise if there’s nobody to share it with? Use your expertise to provide value to the network and you’ll be amazed with what you’ll receive in the long run. If you’re a consultant, blogs and webinars may be a good platform. If you’re in retail, Twitter and Facebook may help you get your products out faster than you would think, especially if you make it share-worthy, minus the sales pitch. See @geekbabe’s experience with Pretzel Crisps!
Lesson #5: Sharing is Caring
I don’t know about you but it would seem that most business websites were a little stingy in the past. There was nothing about sharing except Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V and every website kept it’s information to their own. You also end up signing up with tons of websites because they all require you to sign up with them.
While that seemed common back then, it is a whole new world today. Businesses are asking for their content to be shared by putting up share widgets, asking for likes and retweets, RSS allows content to be taken and published elsewhere, even account creation is minimized as many websites now integrate social media logins / verifications through Facebook and Twitter. Businesses see the importance of establishing a presence online today and having a website today becomes a necessity rather than a want.
Is your content shareable? If not, it’s time to make the change!
What in the World is Happening?
This is the social era and much have changed since the ‘E’ days. Businesses are becoming more transparent in their processes and knowledge simply because they realize the importance of providing value to their customers. When will the Social era end? Not soon – because being social is what humans do best. We are made to be social and this may just be the beginning of something bigger.
What have you learnt from the ‘E’ era? What other differences can you spot with today’s Social era? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!