Once the holy grail, now the big disappointment….social media! Social media is not a fad (Eric Qualman said a few years back)….but talk to marketeers, CMO’s, CEO’s or read recent articles nowadays and they tell you a different story! Social media implementation is hard, let alone building a social business (model) around it! So was it a fad, a moment in time that will pas? History will tell, but one thing is for sure social media isn’t going away (whether we like it or not)…ignoring it can only be a short-term policy therefore!
I truly think Social Media is a class example of the Gartner Hype Cycle. Once believed as the next big thing with big (business) disrupting expectation, social media in 2013 is for from the big star it was predicted to be! Luckely the Hype Cycle shows us the next phase will be the platform phase on which normal activity will settle in. Probably no social business disruption (as predicted a few years ago), but a change in strategy and structure allowing companies to work with social in all it’s components.
So far for the introduction….a day on social CRM like today (organised by our social times in Brussels) showed how social keeps on disturbing companies, but where companies saw social as a goal only a year ago, I heard evolution today where social becomes a part of the customer centric company structure. In this evolution into a more customer centric business environment social only can be seen one of the local steps after decades of evolution. Social allows companies to take the customer centric level to the next step.
Together with mobile both tech-evolutions have changed customer behaviour and empowered both customers and companies to embrace the customer centric/empowered environment in which we live today.
Yesterday I attended the IAB Think Mobile congress, where the end conclusion probably was the most important one: Mobile is NOT the future, it is the present! (Almost) Everybody has a mobile device (smart phone or tablet) and uses this daily bringing down barriers to connect with te outside world. For instance Facebook is checked daily (14 times on average) thanks to the no barrier Facebook app making it easy to connect and share.
Together with mobile, social is a very powerful toll which give word of mouth a completely new dimension. TNS research shows that only 2% of social media users engage with brands, but most of those users read those engagements! Which make the social graph one of the most underestimated powers of our society. Steven Degelaen (online media manager from Telenet) only recently felt the real power of social media when one single housewife started a Facebook page complaining about the poor service level which Telenet gave to their existing customers. Within 48h time this page had more than 100000 likes (which is more than the Telenet-page up until today). Thanks to a good structure of their social media team (not in silos!) they were able to respond within the day and came up with an off-lin action to start the talk with these dissatisfied customers. For shure to be continued in 2014….
But for now the Telenet strategy of one account and one voice pays off! This is a small example on bringing your customers departments (marketing, sale & service) under one umbrella. Customers know when you’re not speaking with one voice! (And most companies to by dividing marketing from sales from service). The one agenda idea therefore has a thumbs up from me, but can be seen as business disruptive and a step into the world of social business.
This is what social business (social CRM) is all about: small steps in a customer centric environment, instead of a complete company make-over into a social business. There is still room for improvement (in Belgium at least) since only 12% of Belgium companies have a consumer experience management program in place! (According to a Vlerick study)
So in conclusion! Yes, social media is not a fad, no social media is not the big disruptor as predicted but keeps companies struggle with it….