I have a confession to make. I’m not a huge fan of Facebook, the only social media network I “participate” in. I’m not even going to mention Twitter. I have no real desire to share with the people I happened to go to school with what I saw on my commute home, nor do I really care what they’re making for dinner. But I can see the benefits of it for businesses, especially for bakeries whose product creates a visceral connection with consumers.
I’m continually amazed at some of the great back-and-forth many bakeries have with their customers on their Facebook pages. What a great way to build loyalty, and you can be sure your customers are sharing with their “friends” what a great bakery you have. But Facebook is no longer the only game in town.
Google, the Internet search engine that forever changed how we hunt for information and became a verb in its own right, launched Google+ this summer–its version of Facebook. Google+ recently expanded its service to encompass business profiles. With this newest entry, it begs the question: how many social networks can the marketplace handle?
My guess is one. While social media is likely here for the long haul–it makes communication just too easy to disappear–we at Modern Baking have always stressed that the current iterations, such as Facebook, may not be the same iteration that we see five years from now. But which version, Facebook, Google+ or some as yet undeveloped network, will become the gold standard?
That I don’t know, but I do believe that only one will survive (or at least have so many more users that it makes any others also-rans). Much like VHS beat out Beta or Blu-ray beat out HD DVD, consumers are going to make a choice because they are simply too time-strapped to participate in more than one network for the long term.
But until that happens, bakeries will need to have a presence on as many pertinent networks that exist. You don’t want to choose the wrong team and then have to play catch up. While Google+ may be the newest, it might be smart to take its history as a search engine into account. After all, we are a “just Google it” nation.
So, if you, like me, aren’t a fan of social media, get over it. You don’t want to miss any opportunity to build your brand or customer loyalty.