I enjoy the discussion about social media, so you’d expect I was exhilarated when I read Ten Common Objections to Social Media Adoption and How You Can Respond. It inspired me to share my insight as to how social media could benefit an organization, whether it’s large or small.
Social Media is used to describe the genre of blogs, micro-blogging, social news, social networking and other Web 2.0 variations found on the Internet. You can read my non-whitepaper on Social Media, if you’d like. Compared to traditional media (e-mail, print, television), consumers have a choice and it offers unparalleled communication mediums for anyone.
For anyone who’s even just a little curious about Social Media, I aim to list 10 win-wins for both your business and consumer. I know there are more mutually benefitting reasons, but I wanted to really hit on the big ones that count.
10 Win-Wins for Social Media Adoption within Your Organization:
- Communicate with Customers, not to.
Participating with consumers will help you not only appear to be on their side, you will be, by listening and advocating their concerns. A lot of companies who genuinely care about consumers are rewarded with highly-engaged, viral, and let’s be frank — high margin — customers. Although, companies who failed at social media (read: misleading PR, Wal-Mart) have been at the mercy of their consumers who can see right though to the PR snakes. Ultimately, if you want to listen to your customers, being accessible to consumers is key to gain their trust and honest feedback and social media allows you to build new relationships with users.
- Learn More About and Define Your Audience
A lot of companies can often reach out to an untapped demographic via social media — and further, allows any demographic to learn more about your products and services. Being social in social media allows you be dynamic and adapt with your varying audiences. This is mutually beneficial, because consumers can identify themselves with a company who supports their ideals and passions; while the company can reach disrupt their competitor’s online territory silently.
- Earn Trust and Better Control Your
The biggest misconception is that a company controls their reputation on the Internet –which is anything but true. Traditional public relations, doesn’t work in a progressive world. If you gain trust by building strong relationships with industry leaders (and consumers) you can better project what you want to project without appearing insincere or (even worse) misleading. When you have a track record of being honest and upfront with your consumers, they will reward you by listening and even spreading the word.
- Build your Internal and External Social Media Strength
In many businesses, the ideology that is preached, “Treat your employees well and they will treat your customers even better.” The same characteristics can be made internally at your organization. If you reward the internal talents, they can bleed outward to other external social media interactions. Likewise, the additional benefits for internal/external social media, would be the growth of ideas and the free-flowing exchange of information from engineers to directors to CEOs (not necessarily in that order).
- Traditional Media is Changing, You Need to Be Ready
As consumers turn on their computer and check e-mail when they wake up, the TV get’s turned on less, the newspaper gets picked up less, and they gain more power as a consumer when they specifically choose their sources of information. Any media organization will tell you that their Web site has more traffic than ever; which leaves traditional media being served with even less desire compared to 20 years ago. Being accessible in both traditional and progressive social media allows the company to embrace all the needs of their customers.
It’s relatively cost effective to participate in social media on the Internet, because it’s underpinnings are to be human — be social. To be social, you just need to facilitate communication and embrace the fine art of it. Blog software is practically free, Web servers are cheap, and your social media ambassadors are the ones found blogging all day (where you walk by and think they are just surfing the Web…). This benefits consumers because their words aren’t collated in expensive data collection, such as administrative fees in market research surveys. Literally, an organization can obtain more ROI if they invest themselves into Social Media than traditional media.
- It’s Alright to Mess Up, Consumers Will Forgive You
In traditional media, companies are more often than not being talked about negatively in some form of a scandal or another. In social media, the tone of the discussion is more neutral — if not positive — than traditional media. Embracing this allows companies to try new things and be dynamic with their products and services. While this privilege is great to have, it wouldn’t be too prudent to be caught with your pants down too much.
- (Smaller Organizations) Can Now Have an Industry-sized Voice
No more does a smaller organization have to waste resources with PR publication services; they can disrupt their industry with a breakthrough product or service easily with social media. Not only does social media attract consumers, it falls within earshot of industry insider’s who are waiting to root for your company. Likewise, this fosters more free enterprise, and more targeted advertising to be spent, if you reach the right people searching for your industry’s keywords (See: Google AdWords).
- Exploit the Heck Out of the Pareto Principle
The Pareto principle is the 80/20 rule (also varied as the 90-9-1 theory) that describes the participation inequality. This theory holds true for any News or broadcast-like entity who wants to enter Social Media with a bang! Essentially,
embracingexploiting this rule to your advantage will bring incredible results. Look at Digg, Propeller or Reddit. All their content is created by mostly a minority of users to serve the majority. Really this benefits consumers because it allows competitive free voice so your users are competing for attention on your Web property, thus raising engagement.
- Using the Right Tools Will Help You Better Prepare for More Information
When your organization uses the right tools (RSS, for example) your ingraining the very essentials to Social Media success. Further, when you facilitate an online Wiki, you are rewarding employees for building content with their name attributed to their contributions and people get to see their work grow. When people begin to change their thought process (even just a little), you can build amazing ideas with everyone’s contributions. Ideally, a successful company in social media would be strong internally as well as externally; and would be a mash pit of rock-solid ideas that benefit the company and the consumer.
Feel free to mull this over and share your concerns about Social Media in your organization in the comments to me and I’ll see if I (or anyone else) can help you out. Continue this conversation about social media, and write your own response and link to my entry! Do it… now!