The social media explosion on the Internet is setting new rules for all parts of the society. I guide business in the process of going from monologue and marketing to dialog and transparency in social media!
Media is not what it was. Peoples idea of communication is not what it was. Before the Internet there were only so many sources of information we had to rely on. The culture was then adapting to a limited mass media market and the people controlling these channels had a firm grip on peoples attention. If you were to market a product you just rented some space one of these medias and you were almost guaranteed a result. This is what we are use to and comfortable with. However, this is not the reality any more.
Welcome to the extreme make over!
Through the rize of social Internet virtually everyone can start their own media channel on the spot for free and people do. People passionate about a topic may express their information and become a trusted information source for millions of people in a matter of weeks.With all this information available there is no turning back.
This new reality is affecting all the parts of our lives. It doesn’t make sense any more to wait until you see an ad or even go to a retail store before checking out the product on line. If you can get ratings, reviews and recommendation from hundreds of people why should you choose to trust this only source that is the companies sales representatives, when they are clearly bios. Listening to a friend is then far more relevant to most of us.
I help companies to take enter the realm of social communication and tap in to the vast power driving this revolution on the Internet. A lot of this process has to to with going from monologue and marketing to transparency and dialog in relation to the consumers. Sometimes the company only needed a slight change in the way the products are presented. Sometimes more profiund changes in the way a company does business and in many cases there is a fundamental change in the complete value system of the organization.
“The social continuum”
When I help a company There are different levels of engagement in social media. As I have come to see it there are different levels of engagement in social channels. I call this the this “The social continuum”. Find out were you want your company
- Ignoring. Shutting the blinds and hoping that the Internet ill go way is the least engaged you can get. When critical voices are raised on the Internet you wount know about it. The fact that you are ignoring the matter will only make things worse, not better!
- Being aware. Waking up to the social media and being open and curious to how the change would affect us in the short and long run is the next step. Like in so many other parts of life, knowing about a problem is the first step to it’s solution.
- Monitoring. The first part of making yourself understood in any conversation is to first make sure to understand. It is exactly the same with on line discussions. Monitoring what’s cooking on the net and learning from it is usually a huge step forward for an organizations.
- Responding. The next step in the continuum is to engage in the already ongoing discussions with relevant information and answering direct questions calmly and professionally.
- Engaging. When you are comfortable with the results of responding you might start your own conversations in existing channels and forums.
- Inviting. Letting the users initiate their discussions in channels controlled by you, This can be support forums, wikis, or rating and reviews of your products on your own site. With the discussion taking place in your own channels you have the advantage of moderating the discussions.
My first advice to my clients is to dare to act in the continuum. My second advice is to not screw up by going to fast. The natural tendency from people waking up to the potential of the social media tend to rush of and fire up large scale social media platform projects and grand strategies without gathering enough trust from the users and not enough experience in the organization.
I usually work with a mix of research and usage tests in combination with business development, seminars, workshops to guide a company trough this communication transformation. The only thing you have to do is identify were you company are in the continuum today and where you want to be and then give me a call. The rest, we do together.