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The Democratizing Effect of Social Media

It’s amazing to think that social media has only been around for the last decade when you consider the impact that it has had on people’s day to day lives. In addition to keeping people connected with friends and family across the world, it has dramatically changed the way that people get their news, how businesses operate and advertise and where people go to find entertainment. Social media has given everyone with Internet access a voice, allowing them to hold companies accountable for their actions, good and bad.

New Ways of Doing Business

One of the biggest changes that social media sites have led to is giving consumers a voice.  Previously, if someone had a bad customer service experience, they could only relate their story to a few people.  With social media and customer advocacy sites, that has changed.  Companies with poor customer service are frequently finding themselves tried in the court of public opinion on the Internet.

Companies are also discovering that the Internet provides a huge amount of marketing data and customer feedback.  Businesses that are active on social media sites are able to collect a variety of positive and negative feedback regarding products and services.  There are also a number of social media aggregators that compile feedback from a number of sites, even if comments are not posted to a company’s profile page.  Before social media, this type of data was only available through costly market research.

Internet and Social Media Advertising

Small businesses are benefiting from social media sites and the low cost of Internet advertising.  While traditional advertising through TV, radio and print is prohibitively expensive for many smaller companies, Internet and social media advertising tend to be very affordable.  Additionally, businesses that provide excellent products and services will often find success through viral marketing when their loyal customers talk them up on social networking sites.

Another benefit that social media advertising has over traditional advertising channels is that it is much more targeted.  Instead of spending thousands of dollars on a billboard that reachs a random audience, companies can spend less than a hundred dollars to reach their target market.  Since people fill out profiles and follow particular brands, hobbies and other interests, advertising can be focused directly on people most likely to be interested in a product or service.

Changes to Media and Entertainment

Social media has also brought a huge number of changes to the way that people find and consume entertainment.  There are a number of famous people who were discovered on YouTube; Justin Bieber being one of the most popular.  Additionally, there are a number of shows that are being produced and run exclusively online, and some have gone on to become regular network TV shows and movies, such as Syfy’s “Sanctuary.”

Before the rise of social media, if a show was not picked up by a production company, that was the end of the line.  However, with people able to produce their on shows, podcasts and music videos and share them online, people are no longer at the mercy of a handful of entertainment companies.

It is difficult to overstate the effect that social media has had on people’s lives.  Social media sites have given power to consumers by making businesses accountable and allowing smaller businesses to flourish, and consumers are having a much larger impact on the entertainment available to them.

Author Bio:- Vincent Feril is freelance technology blogger who has recently covered digital marketing agencies like 522 Digital and Ingenex Digital. 

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