Last week was Social Media Week in the UK. As part of this I went to a very interesting Social Media conference in London. Now and again it’s worth stopping and taking time to stand back from a trend and try to get things in context. I took a couple of days out from the sales coal face to do just this and have some interesting discussions before, during and after the conference.
My observations – for the business person – that I have after all these interactions and downloads are:
1. Social Media is still being considered more of a B2C (business to consumer) tool, with very few case studies from the B2B (business to business) world.
2. After a few years of marketing departments using social media as another ‘channel’ to send out their ‘messages’ to ‘consumers’ they are starting to realise that the real opportunity is in listening and understanding the customer in more detail.
3. The main challenge in adopting a social media strategy is internal. Large (older) organisations are starting to face up to the problem that their staff may not be motivated, happy and enthusiastic. So, when customers attempt to engage with them a) marketing are not used to talking back and b) there is often a gap between the brand that marketing have invented and the reality of the organisation.
4. Newer, smaller companies are better placed to exploit the potential of social media as they do not have the hierarchical structure and control baggage of their larger competitors
5. There is a whole generation coming through who do not use email and do not believe what companies say about themselves on their own websites. This is the customer of the future and you need to be active where they are active. You need to go to them as they are not going to come and find you.
6. People may go on-line to buy, but they do not go on-line to be sold too. So you have to be creative in engaging with them. 50% of content (minimum) should be to entertain.
7. Average spend on-line (and donations to charities) are increasing. There is a direct relationship between this and petrol & parking price increases.
8. Marketing (and there close collaborators the agency and PR company) are very scarred that they are losing control of the image / brand that they want to project. It’s almost as if they are nervous about a future board meeting where they are confronted with the true facts of what the customer thinks / feels / believes.
9. It makes increasingly little sense to talk about ROI for social media in isolation of other ways used to engage with the customer (such as the telephone or email) and perhaps ROI is Return on Involvement (or ROE = Return of Engagement)
10. As we no longer have ‘jobs for life’, creating a personal presence on the internet which helps define our views, expertise and value increases in importance and will replace the CV in recruitment and collaboration decisions.
So. just my take on a very interesting couple of days in ‘that London’.