If you are like me and almost everyone else I know, then when you are going on holiday or are going to buy a new product or service you will google your destination or other search criteria. More often than not, the websites you view will have some social media content such as reviews from customers. As an example, I was looking to buy a new digital camera a few months ago and the local retailer suggested the Ricoh Caplio R7. I went home and googled the camera and viewed the review on Cnet. What is interesting about the review is that that Cnet editors rating is an 8 out of 10 whereas user comments average 4.5 out of 10. To me the users rating held more weight as these ratings are by owners of the camera rather than a reviewer who has had limited time with the camera.
What this illustrates is that organizations can no longer rely on public relations or marketing and advertising to get their message across. What used to be termed ‘word of mouth’ is much more influential than it used to be now that people can share their views with wider audiences via social media (as illustrated in the Cnet example above).
Do You have an Active Social Media Strategy
All sorts of organizations engage actively with social media. Examples in Australia include; XXXX (Youtube, Flickr and Facebook), Billabong (Myspace) and News (Blogs). When researching for this article it became very evident how few organizations are actively engaging social media (by ‘actively engaging’ I mean going to the consumer rather than relying the consumer to come to them. Active engagement is therefore having a presence on social media sites or having a Blog where consumers can freely engage the brand). So the question naturally becomes; does your organization have a social media strategy and if not, why should you have a social media strategy?
‘Social Media is here to stay, Web 2.0 is a fact of life. Corporate Blogging is becoming a reality’ (Nielsen)
Why to have a Social Media Strategy
Besides the very evident logic in actively engaging consumers, various studies have shown just how important active engagement is, for example:
- Gartner recommends that ‘to do business with the growing “Generation Virtual” population, companies will need to provide, or connect to, social applications to attract and engage customers’.
- A survey by Cone Inc finds that 93 percent of social media users believe a company should have a presence in social media and 56 percent of users feel both a stronger connection with and better served by companies when they can interact with them in a social media environment.
- ‘Social Media is here to stay, Web 2.0 is a fact of life. Corporate Blogging is becoming a reality’ (Nielsen).
The above illustrations are but a few of thousands of research reports published showing the necessity of organizations to actively engage with social media.
Starting a Social Media Strategy
Engaging Social Media is achievable for organizations of any size. The challenge is determining how to engage social media in a beneficial way. Every organization is different whether that is the products or services offered, the brand proposition, the company strategy or many other factors. My tip…..get someone you trust to assist with your social media strategy and see it as an opportunity rather than a threat 😉