Being in the high tech industry has given me a front row seat to the launch of many new products and technologies. My knowledge of the rapid adoption of social media tools, such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, has largely been focused on the tech industry. High tech companies and the people who work for them are usually early adopters of new forms of technology since they’re more comfortable with trying new things or adopting new ways of doing business. Yet for the masses out there who are not part of the high tech world, I wonder how social media tools are being adopted by the non-tech crowd? For instance, is Joe the Plumber using Twitter to find new customers? A central question is if and how people in all walks of life and industries will use these new forms of technology to strengthen their personal and business brand.
Since I work with a vendor that is in the enterprise content management space, I frequently read Ron Miller’s blog at Fierce Content Management. His October 28 posting, “White House continues to get value from social networking”, caught my eye. It focused on how the Obama administration used social media tools, in this case Facebook, to call on loyal supporters to reach out to congress about a healthcare issue. On October 21st, the President posted a request on his Facebook page for 100,000 calls to Congress on this issue. By the end of the day the number of callers surpassed 315,000! Has there ever been a time in history where so much action can be achieved in merely a few hours?
One of the areas that helped get President Obama elected was his team’s sophisticated use of social media tools. Now that he’s in office his team continues to demonstrate how powerful social media can be. I respect their use of these tools and I hold them in higher regard since they’re willing to change the way things are done.
Those of us in the high tech world should take notice. Using these types of tools can address a specific issue, like what the President did with the healthcare request, or customer feedback on a new product. Beyond the immediate feedback, however, is a larger golden nugget to shoot for— brand development.
I’m more inclined to work with a company that adopts new forms of technology to make my life easier. For instance, I continue to buy products from Dell because I see the company using social media tools to improve customer service. I hold a higher view of companies that are actively using social media tools because it tells me they understand the value of engaging with customers, becoming more transparent, and taking action rather than dragging their feet. That helps to strengthen their brand.
As a consumer do you hold a company in higher regard if they use social media tools? Or let’s look at another way. Put yourself in mainstream America, do you care if your mechanic/plumber/babysitter/hair stylist/grocer friends you on Facebook or follows your Tweets? What about in the business world? Would you be more inclined to work for or with a company if they actively used social media tools?
Author: Rob Goodman
Rob Goodman is a communications professional with more than 27 years of experience in public relations, marketing and content creation.