The Power of Social Media & Networking

Social media has changed the way people receive and share information. Networking and social recommendations (such as the “Like” or “Recommend” buttons Facebook has available) are doing the research for us when it comes to looking up news and information. Technology has made it easy for people to share with one another news stories, bytes of information, and answers to questions. Just like the Internet took over the print press, it is helping social media take over news outlets, product placement, and is also helping customer service improve.

If you have Facebook, you should notice there are ads placed on the right side of the screen. When I first spotted these, I thought to myself, “wow, it’s like they are reading my mind!” Then I quickly realized that somehow, some way, my history on a search engine and information I’ve shared with friends on Facebook is being tracked. My first reaction? OK, yeah… that’s kind of scary.

The idea of the “like” button has done so much for the daily Internet user. After giving it more thought, I think it’s a brilliant advertising/marketing tactic. What better way to sell a product – if a company knows what people want, it seems that it is much easier to sell it. If one person “likes” a product, there is a good chance some of their friends will “like” it as well. Not only that – people are able to form relationships with others based on the common interest. They can also share tips and tricks they’ve learned about a specific product over time.

Social media is also altering the ways businesses reach their clients. Numerous companies are now advertising their Facebook or Twitter pages before mentioning their actual website. They urge consumers to “like” them on Facebook and “follow” them on Twitter for the latest information. Once customers like or follow a company, they are driven to the company’s website where they are able to find anything from detailed product information, FAQ topics, customer forums, and sometimes even an option to chat live with a service representative.

I have had exceptional luck obtaining great customer service via social media. For example, I was less than pleased while working with a third-party company. I was frustrated and felt like I was getting the run-around from the various customer service representatives. After being on hold (again) for more than 30 minutes, I took to Twitter to vent my frustration. I mentioned the company by name, and within minutes, I had a response from one of their team members.

I was blown away – I couldn’t get someone to respond to me over the phone; however, when I took my anger to a social network, I was contacted immediately. I explained my problem to the representative, and she was able to get the account information she needed through a private message, and took care of everything instantly. She restored my faith in their customer service team. Now, I know if I’m having an issue with reaching one of their representatives via phone or email, I can send her a quick message on Twitter and I know she (or someone on their team) will respond as soon as possible.

Social networking has simplified life. We can look up information on products we wish to purchase (like cars, household items, office supplies, etc.). We can Tweet someone to find out what the weather is going to be like over the weekend, and follow news networks to get the latest information. No longer do we have to wait for the six o’clock news to begin, or for the morning paper to arrive. We can contact a company’s customer service team to ask a question about one of their products or get general support. Social media is revamping customer service for the better, and making customers feel like they are number one again.