With the booming event of social media networking sites, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and the like, the global community has shrunken to the size of one hive mind. Enter in the buzz of light-speed innovations cross-pollinated with the compelling voice of consumers around the world, and what you get is the end of commercial advertising as we know it.
Stringent marketing practices and campaigns are simply no longer the only solution to sales and brand reputation management. In fact with the customer, many of these corporations would not be where they are today…and they are finally beginning to catch onto that concept. But to those who have not yet begun to understand this reality of the virtual world, there is a danger of lapsing into the abyss without as much as a whimper.
Entrepreneurs and mom-and-pop operations have now become real competitive factors against superior companies — some organizations are beginning to understand that. Smart ones realize that if they do not get up to speed and take rapid measures to develop multi-faceted, effective social media marketing strategies that they are going to be lost to the wayside.
In a recent webcast, Toby Richards, Microsoft’s General Manager of Community and Online Support joined the Voice of the Customer radio show with Execs in the Know. One of the many topics discussed during the webcast was how, through social media, the lines between marketing and customer service have blurred. This is true in the sense of the “hive mind”. Now because consumers have a global stage in which they can interact and communicate in real time, the collective voice and message that customers convey today can lend to both the prosperity or the destruction of a brand’s reputation.
Companies like Coke® and Gatorade® have smartly jumped onboard the social media bandwagon to proliferate their brands in the most constructive ways. Gatorade, in particular, believes in employing proactive social media outreach. Big players like this are surely to succeed in the coming months and years as they strive to create dialog through the hive mind that we call the Internet.
Back to the “little light” line…
Through the hive mind, the corporate ball is in the court of public opinion. While customer phone support is always an important force to any business, the critical nature of proactive social media outreach cannot and must not be limited to just one spectrum of the commercial playing field. It is a common mistake that some companies are still doing today — believing that social media is just a “fad” or “not that critical” to the organization’s brand reputation management. Today there are virtually hundreds, if not thousands of social media forums and communities that lend to the global dialog — either can ignite or kill the spark of growth. That one little “light of mine” voice carries weight across the waves of the Net. One vital error in judgment on behalf of an organization, and that voice can and will be amplified by the hive mind.
How do businesses find their footing on the global stage?
If your company has not already done so, now is not the time to trivialize The Elephant and the Blind Men story. There is no time like the present time to pool marketing and customer service into one superpower that can effectively craft a quality and personable presence on the Net. That means taking a holistic approach to social media networking – combining all parts for the greater whole and progress of the business.
The multilevel social media model should include strategic proactive consumer outreach presence on major social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, FriendFeed, YouTube, and any other two-way dialog community-oriented sites that can potentially become your friend or foe. Which ones do you choose to have? That is entirely up to you — the longer you wait, the greater the risk of losing your reputation…and potentially losing your profitability and growth.
Smart Corporations: Taking a Holistic Approach to Social Media
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