There is a high possibility that you?ll have been on at least one of the hundreds of available social media platforms already today. It might have been Twitter. It might have been Facebook. We all have our preferred site and we all have our own reasons for logging on.
What we all do, though, whether we mean to or not ? is share our personal details and preferences with the world. It?s sometimes easy to forget that social media is part of the public domain. But a simple Google search can easily give someone at the other side of the world an insight into your life.
Your profile is like a virtual version of ?this is your life?.
Interestingly, a luxury New York restaurant?s maître d? now Googles his guests prior to them sitting down for their meal. The idea being that he hopes to discover crucial bits of information, such as birthdays, anniversaries, employment status or where someone was born. He then uses this valuable information to his advantage and passes it onto his staff, enabling them to deliver an enhanced customer experience.
Now we?ve all probably researched an establishment before we visited. It?s perfectly normal. But I wonder how you?d feel now that the shoe is on the other foot? Is it morally right? Is it creepy or is it in fact intuitive?
Fuelling the restaurant?s desire to do this is the increasing amount of information we reveal about ourselves via social media. Almost three quarters of the UK now own a smartphone, and the majority use it for more than hour a day. We carry it with us virtually everywhere and we are continually sending and receiving information, creating a virtual profile of ourselves, which is easily accessible via a few clicks.
Imagine the business potential. Social media offers a free source of information on your existing and potential customers. You can see what they?re talking about. You can see what they?re interested in. You can see what they?re up to. It can tell you as much as the user wants to disclose. It?s brilliant in a perverse kind of way.
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As a sales platform, social media is brilliant. Businesses have the ability to tap into online conversations and plug their products and services ? although a hard sell approach rarely ever works. What it offers is a real-time platform to engage with people.
I read something recently which really related to how businesses should be thinking. It?s no longer about thinking B2B or B2C; instead it?s about thinking H2H, human-to-human. Customers want to feel appreciated and valued as people, not merely as just another sales number.
Are you going to take advantage?
Users of social media unintentionally share their personalities and open the door for businesses to come in. It?s only right that as companies that we treat them with the respect they deserve. To do this we need to utilise this pool of valuable information on offer and deliver products and services that make a real difference to the customer?s life.
The information is there for all to see. It comes down to whether your business wants to exploit the potential or not.
For the social media user, though, there really is nowhere to hide.