A successful business is generally preceded and surrounded by successful relationships. Relationships are, inevitably, bred from communication. While those things may be solidified rules of the business world, certain innovations occurring over the past few years have reaped irreversible changes in the way we all communicate.
It would be difficult for anyone, especially a business owner, to not notice the new mediums for communication opening up in every nook and cranny of the internet. From Harvard dropouts (Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerburg) to seemingly magical technology companies (Apple), it seems every great mind in America is scribbling on whiteboards and “Googling” their way to another billion-dollar idea. As privacy becomes extinct and accessibility (of anything, really) has become boundless, businesses too, of all sizes, have now become much more than the field they are in or the services they provide. Simply put, every possible business field has been affected by the game-changing, and often jaw-dropping, new businesses and services that so perfectly adjust some part of human life (even Angry Birds modified the way we waste our time and raise our blood-pressure) which had no real flaw to begin with. Now, however, business is not just being transformed by these changes, it is actually at the mercy of them.
As interesting as it is to stand around and marvel at the acceleration of technological advancements in the first ten-percent of the 21st century, every new viral trend and hot gadget brings with it all kinds of work for business owners and operators. In fact, keeping up with the evolution of the internet is a business of its own. Never before has anything been so widely used and relied upon by companies and organizations as Facebook has become in such a short span of time – and there is a reason for it. If you pull the last coupon from the shelf display at the supermarket, you may be greeted with the increasingly familiar Facebook logo and asked to like the company for “special offers” or a chance to win a prize. If you watch the TODAY show, you stare at the Facebook and Twitter logos adjacent to “Today.com” on the bar on the bottom of the screen for the entirety of the show. It just sits there, pleading (begging, maybe) you to visit their Facebook and, ideally, “like” it. This may not seem very shocking, until the fact that the TODAY show is an enormous news broadcast in the United States with an already huge following, yet they too are at the mercy of Facebook and the other social media outlets, taking every chance they can to attract attention and generate activity on their Facebook page.
Trying to put the influence of social media in an accurate perspective is actually much more challenging than one may think. That is mostly because of the incomprehensible scope and reach social media – and the internet for that matter – has attained, and how seamlessly it has integrated into the essentials of our business and personal lives. If you really want to understand exactly how big social media is, just pay attention. Start keeping track of all the times you see the Facebook logo, hear someone say they’re tweeting, or how often you see a social media outlet in advertising. It won’t take more than a couple of days for you to appreciate how little time you aren’t looking at or hearing about a social network. You don’t have to write it down (in fact you would probably never be able to keep up that way), just notice when you see such marketing.
Try to remember, too, that every time you see that Facebook logo, that company is essentially trying to direct your attention to their Facebook page and simply “like” it. For perhaps the first time in history, one thing every major corporation wants from consumers is actually completely free and effortless. It almost seems the click of a mouse, something that probably requires as much energy as blinking, is becoming more valuable than the actual products a company offers. There appears to be a unanimous agreement among business analysts that it is somewhat unclear where social media is going from here (can it really go up? Better yet, can it really go down?). Nonetheless, it is very clear that social media has already had some irreversible impact on marketing, advertising, business, and life.
All that this means though, at least to business owners, is that the use of social media is nearly inescapable -- but, better yet, primarily lucrative. Refusing social media is nothing but procrastination; at some point, every business will either succumb to investing in their internet presence, or fold. Business is surrounded by relationships, which are bred from communication, but business is and always has been about change and adaptation, no matter what the specialty. In fact, as we’re seeing now, the most successful businesses usually beget change, as well as welcome it. Allowing social media to influence your business (as it inevitably will, with or without your guidance) will create new means for communication, and allow your business to effortlessly develop relationships to an extent you may have never expected to achieve.