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When Social Media Became Unavoidable

In 2012, Facebook and Twitter boasted a combined user base of more than 1.5 billion users.  With over 25 billion Tweets and 30 billion shared statuses a month on Facebook, social media has transformed how people share information.  There is no area of society more affected by the rise of social media than large enterprises.  Traditional advertising and public relations methodology has been turned on its head.

Instead of having tight control over public relations, there are now millions of consumers who are very eager to tell their network as well as the world about your product or service.  News travels faster than it ever has. Product recalls, faulty drugs, malfunctioning cars and political controversiesare able to spread like wild fire.

 Social media as it turns out, helps to spread sentiment quicker than a PR department can mobilize.  By the time a public mistake or controversial decision has been made, there is no turning back as the Twitter sphere and Facebook statuses will assuredly dominate the conversation.  As New Yorkers witnessed this past November with the cancellation of the New York Marathon, social media does have a powerful impact on the decisions of organizations, governments and businesses.

If a brand fails to listen to the social media mob it could end up suffering from a long lasting impact on their notoriety.  Lesson learned, social media trends and outraged Twitter feeds should be taken seriously.

Although social is a challenge to face for PR and marketers across all industries, it should be viewed as a valuable asset for establishing direct relationships with customers, members or voters.  It is now possible to understand how customers react to purchases and services rendered in real time.  Sentiment analysis tools use Big Data analytics to extract all activity and relevant data related to your brand from social media or other sites containing user generated content.

Essentially, social media and user generated content stemming from activity such as reviews and status updates, provide marketers and PR professionals a pool of data to conduct real-time market research.  In an alternate reality maybe New York Road Runners could have prevented the outcry over the Marathon post-Sandy with a more engaged and targeted marketing strategy that specifically addressed the sentiments of the opposition.

As of today, the New York Stock Exchange is integrating sentiment analysisinto trading algorithms for customers.  In such a high stakes trading environment, it is important to know about relevant news that can affect a securities valuation prior to it becoming a widespread story and having a negative impact on its value.

The key to success is the ability to monitor and notice a potential trend or social media movement prior to it snowballing into a monster that is impossible to control.