Social Media Explained in Plain English
I’m sure you’ve heard the buzz. Social Media may be the next big thing. What’s it all about? Let’s take a visit to Scoopville, a town that’s famous for ice cream. For over 20 years, Big Ice Cream Company has been making high quality ice cream with a big factory in town. A few years back, the company did focus groups and found out that they could maximize profits by offering three flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry. The residents of the town were content. They never thought it could be different. Then something happened in Scoopville – A new invention came to town. Suddenly, everyone could make their own ice cream for only a few dollars. This changed everything. The Smiths decided to make pineapple ice cream. The Jones’ made ice cream with pecans. Soon, every kind of ice cream imaginable was being made by scoopville’s residents at very little cost. Of course, some ice cream was more popular than others and that was okay. Sylvia’s pickle ice cream had a very small but loyal following. That was fine. She only needed enough income to buy ingredients for her next batch. Jarret’s red velvet ice cream became so famous, he created his own store.
Over time, people started to think differently about ice cream. It didn’t always come from a factory. It also came from friends and neighbours. It became something to share, something to bring people together, something to celebrate. Big Ice Cream company still made the best vanilla around, and to their surprise, demand even grew. But it was the unique, original and authentic flavours made by the residents, that brought people to Scoopville. When they arrived, however, there seemed to be a problem. There were too many flavours. Visitors felt overwhelmed. They needed ways to find the new, the popular, the flavours that were interesting to them. Franklin had an idea for his ice cream. Outside his house, he erected aboard and invited his customers to share their thoughts on his ice cream.
They could use words to describe it, stars to rate it, and leave messages for others. People loved it. At a glance, visitors could tell what his ice cream was all about, and learn from people like them. Over time, each resident had their own board. Sylvia’s board showed that her pickle ice cream didn’t please everyone, but was very unique and interesting. Jarret’s board overflowed with positive reviews and ratings. Soon, a few things became clear. First, their ice cream got better because they could learn directly from customers. Second, free customer reviews were more valuable than costly advertising.
And third, the boards created a way for customers to find exactly what they wanted. The combination of new technology and new ways to work with customers helped the residents feel like a unique community. So, this is social ice cream – by the people, for the people. It turns out that ice cream and social media have a lot in common. Today, everyone has a chance to make their own flavours, thanks to free tools like blogs, podcasts, and video sharing. Plus, we now have new ways for real people to play a role in providing feedback, organization and promotion. Whether you’re a big established company, an individual with loyal fans, or simply someone with ideas and opinions, social media means new ways to create and communicate with people who care. New tools are arriving in cities and towns around the world. When this change comes to your neighbourhood, the choice is yours.
What flavours will you make?
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