On your next walk around your corporate headquarters, do an informal survey. Ask your employees if they use social media; Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, others. Ask them if they have read product reviews on blogs. Ask them if social media is a fad or a trend. Your employees are buyers, too. The results will tell….
Ok, now that you have gotten the same answers that we get, ask your managers what their social marketing strategy to capitalize on this trend…. If you get an answer that starts and/or ends with “we need a corporate Twitter account or a Facebook page”, go interview enterprise social media consultants.
Ask the consultant the same question. Get the same answer. Find a new consultant or start talking to your customers.
Ask your customers about their preferences, their views of your marketing messaging, how they research products to buy, how they perceive the information from other buyers. See if you get some really good insight. Don’t focus on the social media stuff, focus on the business impact….
Social media is a means to an end. The end is going to change your business for good or bad. That, of course, depends if you view social media as a fad or a game changer. If social media represents a shift in buyer behavior, the rise of social search, then this is a major paradigm shift on par with other business disruptors.
Another area of potential impact is around business transparency. If an incident happens within your company can be distributed around the world in a couple of hours through twitter, you gotta be worried about corporate IP. Can’t lock it down, how do you mitigate risk? If your team doesn’t have an answer, this might be the time to get one before an incident occurs. Which would, of course, be too late.
A couple of additional points; social media represents a tremendous change in the speed of communications. The velocity of change requires a more strategic approach to these technologies. Delegating so far down the line that your interns are handling your customer responses is a recipe for “crisis development”. Really telling is that the most socially aware people in your organization are part-time college students. We saw this in the early days of the web…. how many “what we we thinking?” websites were created?
If social media has the potential to be the disruptive technology that we believe it is, the opportunity for growth and profits are out there. Also, the threat to growth and profits are also out there.
My recommendation is that if you can’t get a clear answer, dig deeper. Don’t be intimidated, don’t stop at “we should be on twitter”.
The breadth of different industry conversations that we are having around market disruption, socially-enabled business models, customer acquisition costs, channel disintermediation, etc. are pretty much guaranteeing that if you aren’t having this conversation; someone in your industry already is…