Jun 16, 2009
In 1997, I can recall my older sisters saying how cumbersome email was.
In 1999, I can recall high school classmates saying that Napster will never replace music CD’s.
In 2005, I remember friends saying how stupid Facebook is.
Today, I have my own friends and peers asking me the value of social media as a distribution, marketing, and communication tool.
I think it’s important to note that we’ve seen disruptive technologies and changing consumer behavior change industries. This seems particularly true in the newspaper and television industries as of late. And the inability to adapt to this change has caused large print and television corporations to lose market share.
What should have happened is these well-funded and well-positioned companies should have identified the trend, and set up division to experiment, explore, and develop new technologies in line with consumer demand. In essence, Gannett should have created Blogger, NBC should have created YouTube, and Yellowpages should have created Yelp.
In terms of the Multi-family housing industry, I’m not defending the value of Twitter as a lead generating service for the apartment industry. It may never provide significant results as a lead generator. And I am not saying that Twitter, FriendFeed, or Facebook is the next platform that will change the way we find apartments. But I think it is a mistake to make all decisions based on measurable results.
Here is why:
1) It takes time to build and adapt to new technologies.
There is a learning curve involved. You cannot just get a PageRank of 9 overnight. You cannot build a network of followers for your blog with one post. You cannot build your online content presence by creating a Facebook Fanpage.
2) Social Media is also an engagement, communication, and customer service tool.
Not all results of customer service are immediately measurable. I do not need to defend the value of transparency; we all use UCG and review sites everyday. But I feel like I need to convey this… The way we (consumers) communicate, interact, and consume information is changing and for the most part, has changed. The social web, reviews, and UGC influence our purchasing decisions.
Social media is a rapidly growing consumer trend and many companies are still figuring out how to use it effectively. However, it has changed the way consumers make decisions and it is important that companies understand how to employ it to their advantage.