Nearly half of the world’s population uses the Internet. Most developed countries view social media as the norm. It’s rare to find someone or some company who does not use social media. We see China, the Middle East, Africa and South America jumping on board quickly. Overall, there are nearly 1.5 billion social media users worldwide. It’s thought that there’s nearly $1 trillion U.S. dollars being generated by the social media machine.
Beth Platow, marketing and research strategist, at Fronetics, makes the point that you’re missing out if you’re not leveraging social media in your own supply chain. “Many people use social media for personal purposes, but more and more people and companies are using social media for business purposes. Leveraging social media makes sense: customers, leads, competitors, partners, and employees are using it. Is your company? When browsing Facebook you’ve noticed that the power drill you were researching from Home Depot online is popping up on the edge of the page, or maybe it’s the latest version of a cell phone, or a pair of shoes. It feels like these items are following you. They are. These companies are following you. They’re using social media to entice you, to engage with you, to connect with you.”
Social media helped Europe’s largest electronics retailer, German powerhouse, Media Markt, with a huge marketing campaign. The company is already huge in over a dozen European countries, and they have no intention of letting go of their position as a leader. They understand that using social media is critical to growth. According to Facebook, “Media Markt reached nearly half of Germany’s online users with its ‘Germany’s craziest flat share’ campaign on Facebook, with the platform being 2.4 times more efficient than all other media used.”
Here are some ways in which social media and the supply chain are a fantastic marriage:
- Monitoring: Do you want to know if people are interested in following your company? Do you want to see what people are saying about your company, or your competitors? Do you want to read honest reviews, change your marketing strategy, alter a product, and highlight a campaign? All of this can be done by using social media as an intelligent tool.
- Educating: Yes, we learn things from social media beyond what our spirit animal is or who is online playing Farmville. Smart companies are using social media to outreach to people and educate them on a variety of topics, whether it’s specific to their own company or something more general about the industry. Becoming an industry voice and leader could be made much easier by harnessing the platform of social media. Do you want to be in the limelight? Take the mic. It’s much easier to be seen with social media.
- Communicating: Also a form of educating, but perhaps a more intimate approach. Do you want to respond directly to a tweet or status update? Do you want to ask pointed questions to clients or consumers? Do you want people to know you’re there, listening? Social media is a fantastic way to reach people, both figuratively and literally. During Hurricane Sandy and other natural disasters, social media played a huge role in delivering goods, learning about blocked delivery routes, finding people in need, commenting on infrastructure of industries and politics, and wishing people well. Companies need to be involved with all of these things, all the time, but especially during a national, regional, or local crisis.
As Platow put it in her article, “The supply chain makes the world go round. In order to be one of the leaders in the chain, it’s important to remember that Internet users make up nearly half of the world’s population and that social media is on the rise. Don’t miss that boat.”