The world of social media is one click away. We utilize it daily to share everything from the meal we will momentarily consume to our innermost thoughts behind an anonymous username. As we post these meanderings from minute to minute, we rarely consider the important role this tool plays in our consumer nation, engaging people in new ways never capable beforehand.
Care to submit a complaint? Send a tweet. Have a question? Submit a comment on Facebook and hope for a swift response. Companies are utilizing these sites for precisely this purpose, desiring better relationships with their customers.
One such business owner, fashion designer and founder of Frank and Lu, Michael Jarvela, spoke quite earnestly about his use of social media and the absolute importance of user engagement. What began as simple use of Instagram and a hope to capture followers via photography has expanded to a knowledge that engagement requires time and dedication, notes Jarvela in the video below. When fashion lines emerge -- children's lines (as is Frank and Lu) or otherwise -- you rarely hear about the struggles, the sleepless nights, the long-term plans or the cautious yet realistic hopes of a new and emerging business owner who took his savings and made a gamble. Jarvela discusses exactly this in the 11-minute clip attached here, as well as the need to incorporate social media in a 21st century venture, and does so with absolute honesty. It's worth muting the television and watching before perusing his crisp and clean kids clothing line.
(I may not have any kiddos yet, but the items at Frank and Lu are damn sleek and quite fashionable. Just might buy something for the nephew when birthday #4 rolls around in November.)
Whether you're an everyday Joe who wants to rant and rave or a business owner who wants to share tidbits about products and interact with consumers, social media is at your disposal and free to use. Why not dive right in? Although there are ways to abuse and misuse the tool (and that's for another discussion -- one where we pay me the big PR bucks), there's little harm in reaching out with information, at least in my oh-so-humble opinion. This social media bandwagon -- whether Twitter or Tumblr, Facebook or Foursquare -- is one worth jumping on, if you haven't yet. Get in a good stretch, crack those knuckles, put your fingers on the keyboard and get ready. It's time to join the rest of us and spend too much time on the internet. Let's go.
* The title is slightly misleading. Uncle George may not need social media to detail doctor appointments and going to bed at 9 p.m. Yes, he can absolutely do so! But I meant in a business world, everyone needs to jump on the social media train and take advantage of the tool at their free and easy grasp.