How often can you directly contact the CEO (or any representative for that matter) of a company to ask questions about the brand or products? And how often do you actually get a response? I have posed questions more than a couple times and received prompt, helpful responses to each. I would not have been able to do that without social media communities. This thankfully has helped me find an arborist, gluten-free restaurants, where the nearest coffee shop is, and so much more.
In fact, the more I learn about social media the more I love it. I was apprehensive at first to dive in to Twitter, Facebook, Yelp and the variety of other communities out there. I had a lot of questions – Why do I want to communicate with strangers? What’s the value in doing this anyway? And the big one – what am I supposed to say? Being a researcher, I decided I would first check out what other people were saying before diving into the social media ocean.
I immersed myself in white papers, webinars, social media bootcamps, tweetups, and slow experimentation with the variety of tools to use this new media. I figured it made sense to start following the lead of some of the social media gurus out there – I found them on Twitter and Facebook, I went to events where I could speak with local folks, I read their blogs, then I watched and listened to what they did.
After getting my feet wet, moving past the beginning stages and finally diving right in; I have learned some incredible things! There are companies just waiting for you to ask them something. When they aren’t answering questions they are providing the latest and greatest information about their company and products. There are other people maintaining gluten-free diets that share their stories, recipes, and the latest news. There are newspapers that I would never read in print (I know, I already feel guilty about it) that I follow their breaking news to learn about what is happening in the world. I’m truly beginning to find that you can discover most things you’re looking for in social media communities. However, (this is the best part) if you can’t find it – JUST ASK!
Ask and you shall receive is my motto for social media. I feel that it’s the best way to participate in the global conversation that’s happening every minute of every day. But, as with anything in life, you can’t be selfish. You need to listen, participate, and assist in the ways you can too. It’s a mutual relationship with all those “strangers” that you’re interacting with in the world of social media. Even if you’re going outside of social media to “ask” Google a question, turn around and share it with your friends – they could be wondering about the exact same thing.
So I’ve asked and received. I’ve given and listened. Now I can’t imagine life without it! In fact, I expect the products I use to be represented in new social media. I am now expecting to become a Facebook fan of the brands I love, I want to follow them on Twitter, and I want to see them participating. On a personal level, I appreciate the people participating and highly encourage people to do so. It may not be ideal for everyone but it’s certainly not wrong for anyone.