2009 - Year of Social Media

December 28, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter gained millions of new users in 2009. The websites are not only a way to communicate among friends but also market businesses. The popularity of social media means businesses and organizations can now instantly contact you, in many cases, on your mobile phone. But unlike a telemarketer's cold calls, people actually invite these kinds of messages into our daily lives, making them more effective.Max's Bistro and Bar in Northwest Fresno has its daily specials posted outside the door but many regular diners are learning about the specials long before the lunch rush. "I think it's a necessity to stay in front of your customers as often as you can. We stay in front of our customers by updating our Facebook page with our daily specials. It gives customers a chance to interact with us and it gives us a chance to interact with our customers. It's great," said Max's general manager J.J. Wettstead.

The amount of Valley businesses and organizations on Facebook and Twitter is growing by the day. The Elbow Room at Fig Garden Village uses both. Other users include everything from a south Valley appliance store to the Tulare county sheriff's office, which tweets press releases. Dr. Bill rice with Fresno State's Marketing Department says the social media wave is just beginning. "The issue is being invited into a person's space, to their individual space, is really what social marketing is all about," said Dr. Bill Rice.

Dr. Rice says social media is all about creating a sense of community. Michilene Golden at Children's Hospital Central California agrees. The hospital has nearly 4,000 fans on Facebook and sometimes posts several updates a day. "Social media is where our patients' families and consumers are communicating. And if that's where they're communicating, that's where we need to be communicating, too. We want to be first hospital they think of when they think of a children's hospital," said Golden. You can expect to see even more tweets from the hospital next year. It just hired full time social media coordinator who starts next week.


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