Something strange is happening. Your advertising doesn’t work anymore, at least not like it used to. You used to be able to buy some TV time or put an ad in a newspaper, but nowadays everyone has TiVo or a DVR and gets their news online. The conversations that took place under industrial broadcast media about your products happened in small groups, and their words disappeared as soon as they were spoken. Now the conversations happen in front of millions of people, and they’re archived for years to come. Not only is your brand no longer the host, most of the time you’re not even a welcome guest.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. You don’t have to try to outspend the biggest companies anymore; now you can outsmart them with viral videos. You don’t have to spend thousands on sterile focus groups; you’ve got your market’s pulse at your fingertips with quick Twitter searches. And you don’t even have to do all the work yourself; the stuff that your fans create will blow you—and your competitors—away.
More than 250 million people are active Facebook users. More than 346 million people read blogs, and 184 million people are bloggers themselves. Twitter has more than 14 million registered users, and YouTube claims more than 100 million viewers per month. More consumers are connected than ever before, and every second your company is not engaging them in social media is a wasted opportunity. So, get on board.