What Is World Social Media Day?
In the space of just a few centuries, humankind has catapulted from horsepower that required real horses to the type of horsepower fueled by chemical reactions. (Fun fact: NASA’s space shuttle engines at lift-off generate around 37 million horsepower! Why are we still counting horses, I’ll never know? We certainly don’t have 37 million horses on the planet to propel us to the stars. ?)
We recognize that human ingenuity is what continues to make our lives better—science, technology, medicine and liberalism/democracy around the planet. But, it’s our connection to one another that really is the most important aspect of our innovative abilities. If we don’t seek to create a greater interdependent world, we will cease to flourish.
That all to say, on June 30, 2010, Mashable, the digital media news and blog, announced the first-ever World Social Media Day. As they note on their website,
…as a way to recognize and celebrate social media’s impact on global communication. Today, social media is the heart of global communication; and since its inception, Mashable’s been using social media to connect between cultures, movements and super-fandom.
While every day is essentially Social Media Day, June 30th, 2018 marks the ninth-annual official global celebration. No matter where you live, Mashable encourages everyone to celebrate #SMDay!Social media day | Mashable
A decade later, we live in a different world. With the COVID-19 pandemic raging around the planet, surpassing a half-billion succumbing to the disease, small businesses around the world are buckling under the economic pressures of the lockdowns and staggered reopening. We are more polarized than ever before with politicization of not just everyday life trivialities but of public health recommendations to wear masks to protect yourself and others from SARS-COV-2 transmission.
I have hope though, and it’s thanks to Social Media. And, I’d like to explain why Small Business should find hope in Social Media too, especially today on World Social Media Day.
Social Media Past, Present and Future
As I wrote back in SoLoMo Success, the world has been democratizing speech over the course of millennia. From empresses and kings and sultans, we have gone from a single source of truth in the world to billions of voices being heard. Our first newspaper was published in the 17th century and we slogged along toward having a voice as global citizens for another 400 years.
The turning point was the Internet. In 1989, Sir Tim Berners-Lee at CERN devised the first version of what would become HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and the World Wide Web was born. (W3 Consulting is named after the World Wide Web because of the power we believe it has to help Small Business!) Thanks to our abilities to connect across vast distance almost instantly through Internet connectivity and the Web, there was still a missing element and it would be inspired by Star Trek.
Born in 1926, American engineer Martin Cooper worked at Motorola in the 1970s, heading up their communications division. Less than a decade earlier, Captain James T. Kirk was amazing fans aboard the USS Enterprise in the original Star Trek TV series. One of the futuristic tools on the ship was the communicator, a mobile device used by shipmates to communicate with one another. Cooper created the first mobile phone with the communicator as inspiration in 1973. And, Internet-connected mobility was now possible.
From newspapers and other paper-based periodicals to the Internet and World Wide Web then to the invention and proliferation of mobile communications, you can see humanity’s search for connectivity and connectedness. Social technologies, like Social Media, have birthed an opportunity, should we wish to embrace it. Social Media are where goods, services, and the commons can discussed, traded, and shared when done correctly.
There is a rich historical tapestry that has ushered Social Media into existence. It’s not the end of the road for our development of new technologies to connect and feel connected; but Social Media technologies are a foundational part of global society today.
What’s Small Business To Do?
Enter Small Business, the oft-proclaimed lifeblood of economies.
Some love Social Media as “free” promotional platforms. Others loathe it for its content-hungry, privacy-stripping aspects that affect a business owner’s time and peace of mind.
So, what’s Small Business to do? Here are my thoughts:
First, Social Media is here to stay…and grow. Social Media isn’t just about technological connectivity (e.g., as much of the world accesses the Internet through Facebook) and feeling connected (e.g., while sheltering at home during this pandemic, many young people are watching YouTube Live concerts hosted by their favorite musical performers and commenting about it live with friends on Instagram and other social networks and messaging apps). Social Media is also Big Business. Facebook is a multi-billion dollar juggernaut to the tune of 54 billion USD as of earlier this year. That’s Facebook alone.
Next, as a Small Business, you have to be strategic…with your goals, time, and resources. You must have a strategy for engaging in Social Media because it’s not going away and younger demographics are being reared to look to Social Media first as an important factor in consideration of a brand. Strategy must include (and developed usually in this order):
- the end: an effective Web-based sales conversion strategy (i.e., when someone arrives at your proverbial digital storefront, how will you turn them from a casual passerby to a customer?),
- the beginning: an effective awareness strategy (i.e., how will you leverage digital advertising, traditional promotional tactics, and Social Media to help potential buyers find your brand?), and
- the middle: a consideration strategy (i.e., how will you capture and retain potential, current and past customers’ contact information and attention initially and on an ongoing basis?).
Finally, once you have figured out those pieces you need to invest in learning the digital technology and practices that will make you effective and efficient on the platforms that matter for your business in getting in front of and engaging with your digital community.
The importance of World Social Media Day is that it reminds us that Social Media is a technological and natural force, while also being a business marketplace that won’t cease any time soon.
So, we need to embrace it for the good Social Media can do (while working to minimize its ills), especially for our communities and our businesses.
What can Social Media do for your business? How are you using Social Media to generate awareness and increase awareness? What’s working?