Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Social Networks – A State of Becoming

Bob Dylan suggested that we are at our best when we are “constantly in a state of becoming,” in the Martin Scorsese documentary, “No Direction Home” Our seemingly unrelenting rush towards all that is social and new seems to support his idea in a weird kind of way.

Who knew that Bob Dylan, the enigmatic soul of the 60’s would be the guru for business in the new millennium. Social networks have become an expression of the need to belong and the technology that supports it has given wings to this “constant state of becoming.”

Businesses are finally sitting up and taking notice of social networks as a means of spawning a customer dialogue about their products and services …allowing people to share where they are going, when they will be there and what they like about it. Your product or service can be the benefactor of this new social medium but, as there usually is with stuff like this…there is a catch. You have to plan and support these new mediums with dedicated resources, and when I say resources I mean people!

Businesses are not only supporting social networks discussions about their products but they are advertising on those networks in places like Face book like never before. All of this takes planning and co-ordination and there are business entrepreneurs out there right now building business models for the future that offer social network support, tied into online buying, unique social network customer discounts through software like Foursquare …and the beat goes on.

The upshot of all of this is that social networks, which are designed to be shared by and for the masses are slowly becoming the dominion of big businesses … hey wait a second, wasn’t an online presence supposed to level the playing field between big business and small business? If you are a big business the news is all good - you have the resources to plan and support social networks.

Small businesses, despair not … for you are in the constant state of becoming and you too can reach out to help fulfill this promise of consumerism, but you have to be smart about it and be selective about your marketing strategy. Understanding your marketplace and your audience and properly resourcing social network initiatives will define your success or failure in the very near future.

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