Social Media and Business

In 2004, the term web 2.0 was introduced when O’Reilly Media and MediaLive hosted the first web 2.0 conference. Consumers and businesses started to use social media when web 2.0 gained popularity.

Web 2.0 enables people to use social media tools to interact with the world in a powerful way.  Anyone can set up a simple website, a twitter account and a blog in a few minutes and start to express themselves, communicate with others and build relationships.

In 2005, I experienced the power of social media when I watched my 17 year old choose college courses using I asked doubtfully “Can you really count on the information?” He smiled and said, “Trust me, mom, the rating is very accurate.” This is the generation that is just now joining the workforce as new college graduates.  They shop online using a product rating, prefer instant interaction, enjoy free products, use Facebook to share life and express themselves freely using web 2.0. I would not be surprised that they will choose jobs based on RateMyManager type of information when the economy gets better.

Small business owners quickly realized that social media provided free promotion for their products and services. They jumped on the bandwagon, and why not?  Anyone can rate any services and products any time!   Biznik is a social media networking group for small business owners. It was founded in May 2005 by Dan McComb and Lara Feltin from Seattle.  Currently, there are over 70,000 members from 179 countries; 85% of the members are in North America and 30% are in the Seattle area. It is most popular in “Creative Class” cities.

The Vitrue 100 started to measure a brand’s “social mentions” by analyzing online conversations on a daily basis across social networks, blogs, twitters, photo and video sharing sites and published an annual ranking since 2008.  In 2010, AT&T was ranked 32 by the Vitrue 100. That was a jump from 74 in 2009. What happened that year? An AT&T team of 5 grew to 19 dedicated to managing social networks and started to build a relationship with its customers by listening to them and responding through Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.

Now AT&T has almost 1.7 million friends for the AT&T’s Facebook page that was launched in December 2009 and over 427,000 followers for the AT&T’s U-verse Facebook page that was launched in July 2010. Some of the other AT&T Facebook pages are @AT&T Small Business and @attdeveloper.  AT&T also has over 107,000 followers for the AT&T twitter account (@ATT) and some of the other A&T twitter accounts are @ATTnews, @ATTdeals, @ATTmusic, @ATTbusiness, @ATTSmallbiz, @attdeveloper..etc.

Social media not only helped build a presence for AT&T, but also enabled AT&T to enhance its customer care!

So what about you?  Let us know your experience with social media for business.  Others will appreciate hearing from you as you share your experiences.
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