There is no denying it. Social media is changing how we communicate. From attracting new customers to the ones we already have, and even how we communicate with one another on a personal basis, the way we do so is being shaped by a new set of norms.
As a point of reference, my oldest son Justin just turned 14 this week.
I completed my undergraduate degree seven years before the World Wide Web launched in 1989. He was three years old when Facebook launched. Within seven years, Facebook had one billion users.
Today communications is being shaped by other online medias as well including LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and others.
Communications has evolved at times very quickly, and other times stayed relatively unaltered through decades. In nineteen months, the pony express was replaced by the telegraph. The railroads provided a secondary transcontinental means. Newspapers flourished as the printing presses moved westward with the population. Radio followed the events from the Great Depression through our entry into World War II. Television came next and was dominated by three major networks through the 1980s.
Then something happened.
Communications was largely an oligarchy. The players that dominated the landscape had a big investment in the infrastructure - equipment, distribution networks, people, and cash flow to support it.
As an advertiser you needed to buy ad space or airtime. You either created the advertising yourself or paid someone to do it for you. But the bigger cost was distribution. The larger the audience, the more it cost to reach them.
It's even hard for me to believe today that people had a need to buy newspaper or yellow page advertising I once sold twenty years ago. But they did.
Social media is more powerful today than anything else that preceded it. Today social media is the yellow pages, the newspaper, radio and TV advertising of old. And if you haven't caught on for yourself or your business, you need to embrace it.
Here is what is different.
Regardless of your age, people have no interest in being sold or convinced that they need what you sell or offer. They want knowledge of how what you are offering is going to make their life better. They don't have much time either.
Social media has the potential of reaching far beyond traditional means. In the past, community was defined by what was within a three mile radius of your location. In other words, the majority of your customers were going to be those closest to your physical location. That is no longer the case.
"Community" is now described better by mindset. Who identifies with what you do, rather than where you do it. Furthermore, market segmentation is no longer a broad age range and income. It is defined by lifestyle, attitudes and social awareness.
Communications is no longer controlled by oligarchy. Communications has been democratized, as long as you have a computer or hand held device, you have access to the distribution of information where the variable marginal cost of reaching beyond your own physical location is near zero. You are only limited by your creative approach.
For entrepreneurs, there is no greater opportunity in our history for achieving success at a faster pace than it is today. That is very exciting.
Now it really comes down to using social media and the content that you choose to share. You have the opportunity to connect with others. They want to know you first. Then build trust in what you do has value. And lastly is creating a community that supports what you do by buying what you do.