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Posted by Augie Ray on May 11, 2010
In the mid- to late-90s, many business leaders observed the advent of the Web and asked the wrong question: “What will the Internet do for us?” Instead, they should have been asking, “What will the Internet do to us?”
The difference between these two questions is the difference between a false sense of security and a necessity for action. It’s the difference between Amazon organizing itself around the online channel in 1994 and Barnes & Noble opening an e-commerce site in 1997—today Amazon is worth $55.7B and Barnes & Noble has a $1.1B market cap. It’s also the difference between newspapers struggling with a 70% decline in classified advertising over the course of a decade and eBay seeing revenues increase over 1900% in the same period.
Today, many business leaders are again asking the wrong question: “What will social media do for us?” instead of “What will social media do to us?” The difference between those two questions will define the business winners and losers of the next decade. Let’s explore what social media already is doing to business and how organizations must adapt.
Much has been written about “social media PR crises” such as Nestlé/Greenpeace situation and the “United Breaks Guitars” video, but I’d like to explore these events not from the angle of what the companies did or didn’t do but instead what these incidents tell us about how your brands can prepare for the changes social media is bringing to business communications and operations. Here is a brief summary of these two high-profile social media examples:
What can we can learn from the Nestlé and United occurrences? Here are seven "musts" that smart companies will adopt in the age of social media:
The Web changed everything--recruiting, hiring, consumer expectations, customer support, marketing strategies, IT investments, corporate structure, job responsibilities, workplace skills, employer/employee relations and more. Social Media is already doing the same, and with consumer adoption continuing and Facebook and Twitter extending their reach with new tools that enable the social web, we are nowhere near the end of the changes social media will bring to the business environment. Social Media will do much for brands, but it is how an organization anticipates and plans for what social media will do to brands that will create competitive advantages in our newly social world.