Giraffe Social Media managing director Phil Treagus lends us his expert thoughts on why social media is here to stay – and why businesses need to get on board or risk damaging their reputation…
A real pet-hate of mine is restaurants whose chosen table layout leaves you with no choice but to sit within food-pinching distance of other guests. Not that I’m paranoid about random members of the public stealing one of my mozzarella in carrozza when I look the other way, but rather I prefer a certain level of conversational privacy when dining out. One such restaurant is our local Prezzo, the location of the meal that I took my girlfriend for earlier last month in celebration of her birthday.
We deliberately elected for a table in the corner that had a vacant table for two to the left and a wall to the right. Inevitably, within minutes of ordering some drinks we had new table neighbours; a charming elderly couple. We smiled and politely acknowledged each other, then sat in awkward silence for a few moments as if the four of us were now on a double-date that Prezzo had clandestinely organised.
It was what happened next that spurred me into penning this article. The elderly man reached for his pocket and rather than a handkerchief, he pulled out an iPhone 5s. Without skipping a beat, his wife broke the silence by saying; “What are you doing?” I already knew what he was doing. With a stealthy glance towards his phone, I could see he was checking in on Facebook. I don’t think it is unfair to say that this man was at least 70 years old. Suddenly a smile spread across my face. I knew already that social media was undeniably important – and this moment in time cemented for me the concept that it was here to stay.
Here was a man who was old enough to remember the Second World War and he was checking in on Facebook. Sadly for his wife, he spent the rest of his meal browsing Facebook and the BBC Sport app, occasionally nodding and providing the bare minimum acknowledgements to appease his wife’s conversation. But regardless, this small act provided conclusive evidence of what many already know – social media isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s only just beginning. The first wave of its dominance is ensuring that everyone is using it.
As a previous film student, I liken this stage to the scene in Independence Day, where the alien spacecrafts begin to hover over all of the major cities. Social Media is in position and ready to take over, just like those aliens, but with fewer aliens. An estimated 1.73 billion people are already using Social Networks.
Several years ago, Erik Qualman said that infamous phrase that everyone who works in social media is bored of hearing, ‘The ROI of social media is that your business will still exist in 5 years’. He said that on the first day of 2013. So technically, if you haven’t already commenced your social media marketing, you have 3 years, 3 months and 24 days from the day this article goes live, to do so. I think a lot of people probably scoffed at this idea when Erik first verbalised it, but as I sat with my girlfriend in Prezzo, watching a 70 year old man check-in on Facebook – it is hard to deny it.
No industry can accurately say that their target audience isn’t on social media. Unless your target audience is the Jawara tribe of the Andaman Islands; they’re not on social media. (Yet.)
Social media can be daunting to those who are unfamiliar with it. But that is why Kane and I started our company, to help the 70 year old guy in Prezzo who may run his own company. The countdown has begun to the decimation of businesses who fail to adapt to the new omnipresent digital environment we all live in. I beg you to not be left behind. Giraffe Social Media is the Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum of social media, and we’re ready to save the world’s businesses from extinction.
By Phil Treagus, Managing Director