I am a fan of the Q&A sections in magazines. Here is my version of that. I cheated a bit and offered the following prompt: What questions do you have about social media, but have been afraid to ask?
Oana Lungu Polanco, a marketing professional and social media specialist from Columbus, Ohio asks: How will your company maintain the connections with your social media fans, friends, followers etc., if/when the social media wave passes? Are you using this tool to build relationships that can outlast the wave and continue outside of the social media realm, or are you simply adding quantity now, but have no well-defined exit strategy?
Oana, I’m optimistic enough to say that there is no end or passing of social media in sight. In “The End of Social Media is Coming,” the author suggests more media outlets and channels are finding creative ways to become social rather than remain one way communication channels. Video game consoles (and hand held game devices) allow you to compete against other players, the web through your television, and online radio are examples of traditional media outlets coming to terms with the desires of consumers to make media social.
Importantly, it only makes sense to use social media platforms as one way to build relationships. On the one hand, individuals can use SoMe to both build and maintain ongoing relationships. This might seem like a “no brainer” for some, but for others, it may be difficult to imagine how some social media platforms like Twitter make that possible. Part of the challenge is finding the people that you want to stay in contact with where they are at.. This means communicating with them using the medium or channel that makes the most sense.
On the other hand, brands may consider using social media — incorporated into a fully integrated communications campaign– to strength the affinity of consumers, customers, and clients through their affiliation as fans, followers, or friends. I think the brands that have really dived in with a strategic focus, continue to be successful. Consider reviewing Starbucks on Foursquare strategy offering free coffee drinks to “Mayors” and Victoria’s Secret leverages the traffic on their website home page to drive traffic to their social media sites. We can’t forget about Barack Obama’s successful digital presence as a key aspect to his successful presidential run.
Website developer and photographer from Tuscon Arizona, Martha Retallick writes: Is anyone *really* making any money at this? I’m not talking about the social media consultants, but the rest of us.
Martha, I think people are actually making money with social media as one of their most lucrative and influential outlets. There are a couple ways to do this. If you’re from the Columbus region, you are likely familiar with Nate Riggs. Nate is a self-proclaimed “technology and social media enthusiast,” however, his business is working with mid-sized & large organizations to develop social media strategies and build internalized Human Business Teams. From my observations, his approach is to use social media for the purposes of personal branding.
Regionally, you might be interested to learn more about Krist Neher, CEO at Boot Camp Digital — a resource for the business of mobile apps. Where I believe Krista makes her bread and butter is though training as it relates to internet and social media marketing. Krista maintains much of her livelihood using social media, and continues to demonstrate her relevance as a thought leader through social media channels.
And for someone really making a career using social media is Ryan Squire. As Social Media Program Director at The Ohio State University Medical Center Ryan has redefined the use of social media within a complex instiution. OSU is one of the largest academic medical centers in the country. So, I take it as an extremely strong sign within the social media/digital communications industry when powerhouse organizations bring on creative visionaries to move them forward. I also take it to mean there are lots of employment and career opportunities in which SoMe might be a defining characteristic as to how to earn a living.