$ocial Media: A Big Money Spinner

What is social media? If you copy and paste from Wikipedia you will know it is “the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue.”

Whilst this may be true, this rather vague description barely scratches the surface of what Social Media means, to geeks and business people alike. It is safe to say that Social Media is still in it’s infancy, and only in the last few years have we seen businesses begin to realise the potential power this ever popular tool holds.

A great example of this realisation is shown in this article about Coca-Cola. In the interview, Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coke says, “You have to understand consumers: They would like to be heard. It’s a question of cocreating content. Five years ago social media was 3% of our total media spend. Today it’s more than 20% and growing fast.”

When you consider Coca-Cola’s budget, 20% is a huge sum of money. Obviously it pays off. When asked about the value of thirtysomething million Facebook fans Kent says “The value is you can talk with them. They tell you things that are important for your business and brands. Today consumers are buying products not just for the quality but also because they believe in the character of the companies that produce those products.”

If you wanted to be really black and white about the whole thing, you could say that Coca-Cola is spending 20% of their budget on having a chat with their consumers. It sounds crazy, but that is the way forward for businesses to grow.

The cost of setting up a Facebook, Twitter or any other popular social media account is nothing. Yet the payback is huge. Generating interest that at times exceeds that generated by a paid advertisement. It’s little wonder that every size business is getting on the social media bandwagon and conversing with their consumers, instead of talking AT them.

Whilst I was writing that first bit about Coca-Cola, I decided to try and test the power of social media. So I tweeted Little White Lies a great film review magazine that has inspired me in the past.

Personally I don’t normally bother with pestering big names on things like Twitter. Little White Lies for example have nearly 15,000 followers, the chances of them noticing my tweet, let alone wanting to retweet my poster designs are slim.

However, much to my delight they did retweet my link to their nearly 15,000 followers. I got 249 hits in the first hour, and as I’m writing this my views are still going up. I’ve nearly tripled the views from my previous busiest day.

For a student like me it’s exciting that people with links and interests to the film industry are seeing my work through a respected link. Whilst I’m not directly selling anything, I’ve still used the power of social media to increase the exposure of my portfolio.

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