writes “ Your Customers Want You To Be Social”: That’s what the Boston Globe reported in an article yesterday about findings by communications agency Cone in their 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study. The social web has changed the way we conduct relationships with friends, family, customers and business associates. This in turn has changed the way we relate to brands, products and services. The result is that traditional marketing methods of communicating in a ‘monologue’ is not only a thing of the past but is doomed to failure in a ‘multilogue’ world.
The worst thing for a brand is not that conversations about you are happening somewhere else, it’s that they’re happening and you’re not a part of it. That’s not to say that just because you create an online community with all the bells & whistles, or are part of one, you’re safe. You need to think about your role and voice in the social web. How are you engaging with your customers? What’s your relationship like? How are you nurturing that relationship?
As a consumer, I love what the social web has done for us. It’s put us in a place where we should always have been. #1.
As a brand, you used to be able to control things–the way your customers received and shared information and in effect the choices they were aware of. This is no longer the case. Like any relationship that is treated poorly, it ends. How will you adapt?
What Will It Take to Catch Up?
There is a race for attention and the race isn’t driven by marketers rather consumers. Speaking out on the social media highway at collaboration speeds never before envisioned some brands and related businesses will be shocked when the conversational rivers begin to topple their slow boats that were not prepared for the rising tide. Today many firms are jumping into social media as an extension of their old marketing campaigns only to be rudely disappointed at the results..
Gartner predicts that over half of companies that develop a social media campaign will fail, potentially having a negative effect on their brand.
“(Businesses) will rush to the community and try to connect, but essentially they won’t have a mutual purpose, and they’ll fail,” said Adam Sarner, principal research analyst at Gartner, in an interview with CNET.
Why? Because many businesses will dive in due to the buzz surrounding a recently successful campaign or because it’s trendy to do so with little thought for the ongoing management and goals necessary for such a strategy.
Social media should be approached as an ongoing marketing activity that doesn’t start or stop with a product launch or a new logo. What many marketers find discerning is that success can rarely be measured in terms of revenues and viewing a social media campaign’s success using traditional marketing/ROI metrics would see many deemed failures.
The emphasis in social media campaign success should be put on the value of the relationships formed and the feedback and data gained from consumers. It is a new dynamic driving values backwards to understanding and building meaningful relations. To think of social media as anything else is to approach it as a “trick of the trade” and to ignore the fundamentals of human relations. Using this approach will bring about rude awakenings to businesses unaware and uninformed.
Get it? What say you?