Social Media is all Unicorns and Rainbows after all

Remember the good old days where the social media was all fuzzy and warm and everyone was your friend."Social Media" was a special place where people gave each other virtual hugs and high fives all day long. Unicorns would skip by your desk and every time you looked out the window there was a rainbow spanning the sky (for some people it was a double rainbow remember that guy?)

There's been some significant developments for those who practice social media over the past few years and I think the most important is the recognition  that social media isn't just an industry unto itself. It's growing up, maturing and and being recognized within businesses large and small as a disruptive force, a different way of thinking from recent years. The early adopters have gone through that phase where they created Facebook apps and Twitter accounts because the competition has them. They've talked about ROI until they're blue in the face. The result, I think that many more business leaders are recognizing they need to wrap their arms around social while applying the same sense they would for any other decision. The early adopters have made the mistakes, there's now a history of techniques and tactics to learn from.

The reason for this shift in my mind is(a) comfort levels and (b) that we're realizing this social media stuff isn't anything new. We're just doing what we've been doing for years, thinking about our customers and what they want. Businesses have a symbiotic relationship with customers, if you serve them well and meet their needs (product and service) they will return, just as they did for the Mom and Pop stores of years ago.

The big difference between now and Mom and Pop store era is the customers' ability to research quickly and efficiently reviews and word of mouth via social channels on demand. They ask people, and people tell them, lots of people. That's a lot of data being shared, stored and available online to analyze. Marketers are finally getting the tools that allow them to use their skills to assess opportunities and get feedback quickly via automation and customer feedback. This maturation of products has transitioned us to place where business can get back to setting goals and using data to inform their decisions. Less hype more smarts.

So what's this got to do with unicorns and rainbows? It's simple one of them is real and one of them is a myth you just have to recognize which one you want to spend your time looking for and focus your business dollars there.

Hint- rainbows are real and if you know what to look for you can find them, just like your customers. Unicorns on the other hand, well you decide.  See, social media IS all about unicorns and rainbows after all.

This post was originally published for Social Media Club at: http://socialmediaclub.org/blogs/from-the-clubhouse/social-media-all-unicorns-and-rainbows-after-all