Social media doesn’t come with a manual and it isn’t something you should learn by simply copying others. Social media is simply a new communications system and instead of thinking about social media people should think about how communications has changed as a result of social media.
What Has Changed?
In the past communications was a one way marketing system aimed at getting people’s attention. The old system “pushed” out messages and offers and the consumer had one decision, respond or not. Social media now makes communications a two way exchange and people have been enabled to connect and collaborate with others who have similar experiences or opinions about anything, everything, anyone and everyone.
Consumer feedback is now instantaneous and rather than one by one it is crowds of people who desire to be heard. The subject matters threaded throughout all these interconnected conversations is all relevant and relative to any business, institution, celebrity, government, product or service and people’s daily experiences with anything and everything. The market intelligence embedded in these conversations is strategically significant to those who know how to listen and take action accordingly.
What Direction Should Your Organization Follow?
The direction of any business is set by leadership. Most leaders engage in strategic thinking before finalizing an organizations plan or direction. Strategic thinking encompasses assessing relevant issues that impact an organizations ability to deliver value propositions to specific markets better than the competition. Once a strategy is concluded then it all about execution of related initiatives and activities. Execution involves people, processes, technology and last but not least communications. Without effective communications the cost of execution rises which then creates the need for new “directions”. Changing directions adds complexity. Complexity increases cost. When communications fail an organizations cannot progress towards its strategic aim efficiently.
Social Media Can Cause A Change In Your Directions
If you don’t have good market intelligence than any effort to propagate your value proposition to specific markets may be a wasted effort. Market intelligence is about knowing what value your markets seeks. Where your market is, who is your market, when your market engages, how do they engage and why. Knowing what, where,who,when, how and why is relevant and relative to monitoring market sentiment and subsequently focusing your message around the markets of conversations. However, if your organizational design, culture, knowledge and communications is not in alignment with the markets conversation then the market is not likely to respond. A market that doesn’t respond is a market that is likely responding to someone or something else.
Even if you have the best market intelligence you cannot effectively respond without having an organizations that:
- Cares to respond
- Knows how to respond
- Believes in your response
- Is capable of responding
- Enabled to deliver actions that satisfy your market
Without enabling your organization,(people, processes and technology), to properly and effectively respond you are doomed to fail because 1-5 above is what all markets want from the supplier.
Social media magnifies an organizations capabilities. The market of conversations are quick to point out companies that fail to meet the criteria of 1-5 above. Being able to meet this criteria is a function of organizational design, culture, management and communications. Social media cannot fix these issues rather all it does in magnify how well they perform. Not being able to perform to the expectations of the market has never been as transparent as it is today. To maximize the power of social media companies must first assess organizational design, culture, management and communications or face the consequences of ignoring that which has become transparent to the market of conversations. The directions needed to fix these issues is different than marketing and PR. Get it?
What say you?