Social media is relatively new, and the use of social media as a business tool is a rapidly evolving area. That has not stopped a rush of “experts” leveraging social media, promoting themselves to the masses. In many ways it reminds me of fad diets and self-help gurus, works for some people but not the masses.
Personally I have no issue with this, though I have to admit that many of these “experts” either offer conventional wisdom or take a very specific success story and attempt to apply it en masse. I’ve also seen “experts” who offer social media outsourcing services.
Now perhaps some of these methods could apply to traditional marketing, however there is a reason why this is called “Social Media” and not online marketing.
Social media has scale and is an enabler for information to become viral, but the scalability of the Internet is not in its breadth but in its depth…its ability to connect on a more personal level. Social media provide the tools to harness that power. For business these can mean connecting with current or prospective customers on a level that wasn’t possible before.
Given that social media allows companies to have greater personal access to their customers, there are greater expectations. For this privilege your customers will expect that they will receive more personalization. They will see through outsourcing or some other formulaic approach. The result of these actions will be disillusioned customers who will walk away from you.
So perhaps it is time to open your corporate blog to your employees. I'm not talking about the corporate spokesperson, and in fact make it less about the official corporate position or view. Open your blog to the people who are passionate about our company and have specific expertise that can help your customers.
I believe it’s a great strategy that can apply to any business. Ensure your employees understand your corporate persona and strategy and give them the freedom to be an advocate for your company.
This presents certain risks for companies; however we live in an age where we must accept the fact that people are more transparent with their lives and work. Companies can mitigate risk of social media by embracing the fact that every person in the company should be trained to be an advocate for the company.
If a company does not harness the potential benefit, the risk will only grow greater as social media evolves.
Comments and thoughts are always welcome.