Social media

Today I attended a really interesting workshop for work. I had actually booked leave for today but this workshop was scheduled over the top and I was really wanting to attend so we did a bit of a jiggle and I spent half the day studying and half the day at the workshop and will take some time off tomorrow to make up on missing out on my day off.

The workshop was on social media. At my work we are currently looking to developing a social media policy and plan. This was an intro to social media and to start us thinking about what we wanted to achieve. I know that this planning is an important part of developing a website so good to see that it applies in other areas, and “everyone is doing it” isn’t enough justification for you to do it too. You need to decide who your customers are and what you want to achieve. So a normal business plan, but people tend to forget this type of thing when it comes to the digital world.

I know that social media wasn’t on my list of predicted trends/technologies for the future. This not because I believe that it won’t be big. But more that it is already here, we are already have to adjust our way of thinking in a business environment to take it into account. If you haven’t been doing this in a lot of sectors you are perhaps already majorly behind. Luckily being a crown entity we don’t really have any competition so it’s not a big deal if we are late adopters.

There was a quote today that does tie into one of my trends – big data.

“If a product is free you aren’t the customer you are the product.”

This is so true when you think of the like of Facebook. By posting status updates, photos and commenting on other people and businesses posts you are freely giving Facebook your data. This data then goes into their big pool and they use this data to target adverts – generally a baby store isn’t going to want to spend money marketing to you if you don’t have a baby. But a lot of people past their 12 week scan or pictures of babies so Facebook knows you are a good target for these ads. Or maybe although you don’t have a baby you are invited to a baby shower via Facebook – suddenly Facebook knows there is a good chance that you are in the market for some baby gear. You aren’t the customer – you are the product. Facebook even tracks the other websites you go to if you keep Facebook open on your computer in another tab – another way of tailoring their customers adverts to the people that they want to reach.

Facebook are also decreasing the reach of businesses posts – it is currently about 6% of your “likes”, unless you are willing to pay for it. There are all sorts of tips and tricks to try and extend this, but your best chance is to get people to interact with you. That way your reach will grow. This will become even more important as this direct reach gets down towards 0%.

Attitudes around social media are also changing. Another slide that stood out for me today was that 9 out of 10 people wake up in the morning, get dressed, brush their teeth and check their phones. The facilitator said that this was correct 18mths ago but that there was one big change since then and could we guess what it was. It’s the order – most people now will check their phones even before they get out of bed. This was to lead into a point about social media – you need to schedule your posts to get to people when they are using it, it’s no use putting your post up between 9 and 5 as that isn’t when people will engage with your product. An analogy was that you wouldn’t schedule your TV advertising for when you are at work – you would schedule it for when your target audience was watching TV.

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