The Social Scene covers the rapidly expanding universe of social media technology from a business perspective. Learning to tap the enormous potential of online social activity isn’t just a clever way to generate buzz about your brand – it’s a matter of survival in the 21st Century economy. Social media – social networks, blogs, microblogs, wikis, podcasts, photo and video sharing, aggregators, lifestreams, review applications – have created a new kind of consumer. Today’s customers are informed, engaged, passionate – and vocal. Word-of-mouth has always been a dominant driver of consumer purchasing behavior, but the advent of social media technology has revolutionized the world of marketing. Online social network users are three times more likely to trust their peers’ opinions over advertising when making purchase decisions (“Social Networking Sites: Defining Advertising Opportunities in a Competitive Landscape,” JupiterResearch, March 2007). Almost two-thirds (62%) of consumers read consumer-written product reviews on the Internet (Deloitte & Touche, September 2007). The Trust in Advertising survey found that consumer recommendations are the most credible form of advertising (“Social Media Marketing: The Right Strategy for Tough Economic Times” Awareness, 2008), and nearly 49% of shoppers have made a purchase based on a recommendation through a social media property (Razorfish, 2008). More importantly, seven in 10 (69%) consumers who read reviews share them with friends, family or colleagues, thus amplifying their impact (Deloitte & Touche, September 2007). Businesses that fail to take advantage of social media aren’t simply missing a golden opportunity, they’re digging their own grave.
Of course, knowing that your business needs to “go social” is one thing – getting it there is another. The Social Scene tracks developments in social media technology and the social media strategies of large and small businesses, analyzes successes and failures, and provides insight into consumer uses of social media. All social media is not created equal, and understanding the different behaviors, expectations, and proclivities of distinct communities of users is critical to the success of your social media strategy. A one-size-fits-all approach is a recipe for disaster, because as much as social media can help your business, critical missteps can invite a backlash of epic proportions. To succeed in social media, you have to understand social media – in all its varied forms. That’s why we’re here.