The Power of the Consumer using Social Media

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Even if you don’t run a business, own a website, or spend the majority of your awake time online like I do,  the majority of us share one particular quality in common. We are all consumers. We all have purchased products or services from large companies.

As a consumer we all have a voice, but up until this point, our small voices have been drowned out by the extremely loud voices of these companies and their marketers. But, that is no longer the case. And do you know why? Because of social media.

Yes, social media. Conversations between companies and consumers. This is awesome for us as consumers! Big companies are now realizing something that has always been the case – consumers are the real powers.

Social Media is powerful. When you use this power for good and not evil, you have the ability to make a huge difference.

In the past, big companies could pretty much do or say what they wanted without too much repercussions. It would take something really, really bad to happen (or really, really good to happen) for it to be covered in written and/or television news. And, unless the story was picked up in one of these mediums the company wouldn’t do much to fix the problems being complained about.

However, with Web 2.0 and Social Media this has changed big time.

Consumers are talking online. They are discussing products, services, brands and entire companies.

Consumers are offering other consumers product reviews and suggestions. They are talking frankly about what works and what doesn’t work. And, the good, caring companies are beginning to respond. The majority of them are responding in honest ways. Even if this means they are apologizing for mistakes they made, offering suggestions for things that were not working properly with products or clearing up a miscommunication. Many good and honest companies are communicating with their customers.

Communicating with their customers show their customers that they are real, that they care enough to fix problems and that they can trust the company to at least explain themselves. Some companies don’t realize the power of Social Media and the reasons they should be responding…. I think in time this will change. Over time, more companies will begin to respond. The unresponding anti-social media companies will lose out.

Consumers are more in control than ever before. Companies are listening to their customers – they are using their customer suggestions to create new products that they are asking for. They are coming up with solutions for problem areas and they are saying thank you with coupons via social media networks. Bottom line – companies are listening to consumers. Isn’t that the way it should be?

The real power has moved from the companies to the consumers. We, as consumers, have the upper hand.

But the only way they can hear you is for you to speak up…. good or bad. If you don’t communicate to them they can not possibly hear you. You have your band of consumers that “got your back”. So, speak up. Use your consumer powers for good in the form of Social Media. Let the companies and other consumers know how you feel.

Shana Albert is a Social Media Specialist. She writes on all things Social Media and Web 2.0 on her blog – Social Desire. Subscribe to hear more of her ramblings.

What do you think?