Social Media: A New Era

Over the last year, the world has become abuzz with hypotheses about the future of the Internet. We all see it coming. A new age of Internet. But what exactly will it bring?

Our guess? The Internet will revolve around social interactions and referrals through social networks.

As we see it, the shift toward a social network-based Internet has already begun. According to Experian Hitwise, a leading online competitive intelligence service, Facebook received more hits in 2010 than Google’s search page. With social media sites gaining more traffic than search engines, it seems as though the age of search engines, as we know them, is really coming to an end. Consequently, an increasing number of people are getting their information from within their social networks. Want to know where to shop for good deals on back to school items? Good thing some of your Facebook friends have posted a link to a site that worked for them, and members of your Google, Shopping Friends Circle are also streaming information about the best sources for back to school goods. What qualifies as breaking news? Check your friends’ Tweets, status updates or link posts. That’s where the answer lies.

Spending time searching the web is becoming a thing of the past. Already, ads are being tailored to match our search histories, so its not so far fetched to predict a future in which information is prioritized for us based on the recommendation and habits of members of our social networks. At the end of the day, we all trust our friends, family members and colleagues a lot more than ads anyway.

Minus the Sudoku debacle back in June and the minor kangaroo incident that transpired last Tuesday, coming to terms with the evolution of the Internet hasn’t been that hard for our staff. In fact, we kind of like the fact that technology keeps changing, enabling and compelling us to think differently and evolve with it.

To make sure that we aren’t left behind, we have been drinking a lot of energy drinks, occasionally lifting weights (fine, they were paperweights, but they still count for something), but, most importantly, we’ve had to contemplate how this new age of Internet will affect the way that businesses advertise and interact with current and potential customers.

Here’s what we have decided: The best option for companies is to start utilizing social media tools now. Social media is a powerful marketing platform. The benefits of creating an active online presence is already crucial for companies, especially small businesses building a following. The advantage of having a strong presence in social networking platforms will only continue to grow.

Like us, a growing number of businesses recognize the importance of being actively involved in social media outlets. This new realization is especially influencing the behavior of small businesses. In fact, according to the Small Business Success Index, a survey sponsored by the University of Maryland’s Robert H Smith School of Business and Network Solutions, at least 31% of small businesses use social media platforms. In spite of the fact that a growing number of small businesses are investing in a social media presence however, 62% of social media users feel that there is no return on their investment.

So, recognizing the need for a social media presence, how do you make your monetary and time-based investment count?

Our thoughts?

Stay engaged! Build relationships with customers and develop a greater online presence for your company. By building an online community following, you will be rewarded with the benefits that social networks provide: free word of mouth advertising.

IT services providers and MSPs have an added incentive to proactively bolster their social media presence in order to counteract the decreasing amount of time they spend servicing their customers on-site. As an increasing number of tasks are performed remotely and proactively, services providers can continue to build relationships with their customers using social media platforms instead of allowing their relationships with their customers to wane.

There is nothing more compelling to potential customers than knowing that the people they know and trust stand by and endorse a product or service. By engaging current customers and developing a social media presence, you are building a persuasive legion of promoters who will help you market your business to the world.

Welcome to the power of the new Internet!

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