Weber, T. (2010). “Why companies watch your every Facebook, YouTube, Twitter move.” BBC News Online. Retrieved on October 6, 2010:
Weber makes the point that many companies are changing the way they are monitoring, interacting, and responding to social media. Although many companies have not fully encompassed the impact social media can have on their businesses, those that have, are actively incorporating it into both a communications tool and to a customer relationship management channel. Through social media, companies now have for the ability to collect people’s thoughts, feelings and sentiments in real-time, thus unlocking anything from current trends and hot topics to the reach of their brand and how the completion is doing. The fact that the application of social media is still not mainstream, means that businesses that have fully embraced its potential likely have a level of insight their completion is lacking, and thereby are creating a competitive advantage vs. their peers.
While some companies are still on the fence trying to figure out what to make of it, others have already come to the realization that marketing outside the social media channel is thinkable!
Weber makes the point that in order to survive in the world of social media, companies can forget about their old and trusted ways of doing marketing, and if they don’t adapt to the social media playbook, the results can be anything from a flopped campaign to disastrous, as witnessed with BP in the Gulf of Mexico when the company chose to ignore social media at the on-set of the disaster.
In the social media playbook old values are live and well, and the company can best succeed by an honesty approach, being genuine, and don’t pretend you are something you are not. Now the upside for adopting social media intelligently is significant. Apart from early feedback on product and services, businesses can also unveil product or service issues before they take hold, and through proactive intervention and responsiveness, have a real opportunity to turn a potential negative into something positive.
Being a dynamic medium in flux, businesses adapting social media needs to be prepared to continually adapt their approach as what is hot today is tomorrow’s forgotten website.
The fact that social media increasingly may have significant direct business impact, means that companies needs to incorporate the medium into their operations, and those that don’t do so at their own peril.
Knowing that consumers are spending their attention and time on social media, the question is not really whether or not to embrace the social media phenomenon, but rather how it can effectively incorporate it into their way of doing business.
Providing customers with information that adds insight and value seems to be the most effective way companies can benefit from social media. For instance, by offering sneak previews of new product offerings, and encouraging customers to provide feedback and reviews through social media. However, only a small subset of companies feel ready to engage with their customers on a one-on-one level, and in order to really benefit from the interaction companies need to identify who the true influencers are.
From a business perspective, the objective of engaging in social media is ultimately to improve the bottom line. The fact that consumers are spending their time on social media, means that there is a new channel in which to reach them, so it makes perfect business sense to embrace and invest in the medium. To do so effectively means that all company representatives need to be genuine and seek to add value to the discourse. An example of what not to do is represented in Whole Foods CEO John Mackey’s anonymous postings regarding the impending take-over of Wild Oats.
As with any emerging media phenomenon, the rules of the road and “how to’s” have yet to be established. The upside for doing social media right is significant for any business, and there is no better media to show that the company is interested and care about their customers. After all, it is not a matter of if customers are on social media, they are. The question is when will companies catch up and utilize it to its full potential.