Social Business is no Longer Optional
The concept of social media is not new. The nirvana of all marketing has always been to have people happily talk up your brand to their friends and peers (positive brand advocacy) and now with the range of social media tools available it’s just becoming easier to facilitate in increasing numbers.
The current CMO Survey (Feb 2012) from the US indicates that in the next five years, social media spends will almost triple, from 7% to 20%! In Australia we are way off even 7%, but if we look to the US as a more socially-mature market indicator, then we can expect marked growth in the coming years.
The survey also found that only 7% of US brands agree that social media is “very integrated” with their marketing strategy. Australia is probably closer to 2% and the take out is that first-mover advantage is available in pretty much every category.
In August 2011 KPMG revealed that Australian businesses are trailing in the global race to adopt social media, with almost half of all Australian companies conceding no uptake at all.
The current step-change in marketing is becoming less about making a quick (and often repetitive) appeal to the masses and more about creating a personalised experience and establishing a long-term customer relationship.
Let us not throw out the baby with the bath water however.
We see the new tools for what they are… in no way a replacement but as a complement to the proven channels of interruption media: TV, newspapers, radio, magazines, out of home etc.
The challenge for most brands is they are socially inept.
This opportunity to more readily converse with customers is all well and good, but as with any relationship worth having, they need to add value and be compelling… not just talk about themselves.
In the desire to be of the moment it can be difficult for brands to see the strategic big picture as the vast majority focus their energy on tools and tactics.
Most brands have unrealistic expectations of social media effectiveness and yet ironically nearly all social plays begin with the tools rather than an underlying strategy based upon customer insights….so it’s no wonder that Social ROI is tough to measure in the absence of clear objectives.
Coupled with this most organisations are heavily siloed which a natural barrier to an open and collaborative culture, the very essence of social.
Where do you Begin?
If you haven’t started planting the seeds for a fruitful social business then now’s a good time to begin. Make the choice not to ignore the potential impact of social media on your brand(s). Whether it is great or limited, there is the responsibility to understand the pros and cons.
STEP 1. Assess your social strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. What’s your social capacity and content assets?
STEP 2. Listen and learn both internally (stakeholders, employees) and externally (customers, partners, suppliers), and understand best practices through a competitive social analysis.
STEP 3. Set up a listening platform to gain insights on who is saying what and where
We call these initial steps Immersion – they typically take 6-8 weeks and result in firm recommendations for a Social Business Strategy, providing a sound platform for building long term relationships with your customers, B2C or B2B. If you would like a no obligation preview of STEP 3 for your brand then click here.