Part of an ongoing series dedicated to small businesses
As you read this, the business landscape is shifting right under your company’s foundation. How customers make decisions, how they discover, communicate, and share, how they influence and are influenced, is evolving considerably. In fact, customer behavior is not only changing, it’s fragmenting and opening the door to new touch points. Your business will now have to compete for the customers you know and additionally, a new breed of customers that you need to know. And, to earn their attention and ultimately their loyalty, you will need to better understand the top technology trends and how they’re impacting customer behavior.
I’ve always admired TED’s approach to presentations. More importantly, I appreciate how this approach inspires its presenters to in turn inspire audiences in the room and around the web. This evokes the concept of having an “audience with an audience of audiences” where those on stage break through the fourth wall to speak to and through audiences to extend engagement to social networks. TED stimulates the sharing of inspired experiences and it’s the nature of those experiences that foster greater dialogue in and around each event.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project recently published a study that found 50% of cellphone owners use their phones while watching TV. Connected viewers are not only driving the rise of Social TV, their activities are opening new windows for real-time multi-screen experiences that require design.
Social media changes everything. Marketing, sales, customer service, they’re no longer departments, engagement is now a way of business.
As the impact of social spreads through organizations, questions arise about the role social ultimately plays in customer service and overall customer experiences. For the past three years, good friend Brent Leary and the folks at Social Media Today have produced The Social Customer Engagement Index. It examines how companies are using social tools for customer service and, more importantly, how customers are responding.
Guest Post by Jaap Favier, managing partner of The Small Circle
What is the secret of bars? Why do we happily pay four times as much for beer in a bar as in a store? We pay this brand premium to be with friends. The secret of bars is that they convert our quality time into cash. Like bars, social media are places where friends meet. The best social media programs also convert the consumer’s social time into a brand premium, reaching a return on investment (ROI) up to four times as high as the ROI of a TV commercial.
Mark Zuckerberg announced in a short and sweet post today that Facebook is now home to one billion digital denizens. I’m not going to focus on the impact this news will have on its stock. Instead, I would like to focus on how this significant milestone aligns with his vision, a vision that was clearly communicated in the company’s S-1.
After re-reading Zuckerberg’s letter to investors, here are a few themes that resonate with me in light of this news…
The state of the relationship between Twitters and its developer community is nothing short of tumultuous. While there are significant merits on either side of the debate, what’s clear is that the Twitter of yore is no longer on a similar course for what will be the Twitter to come. It’s a sign of maturation and focus. It’s Twitter’s shift from tech startup and media darling to an aspiring new media empire. Ruffling feathers and clipping wings is an unfortunate reality of any business strategy.
Every day, an increasing number of connected consumers are taking to social networks to ask for help or express sentiment related to business or product related experiences; some do so to seek resolution from their peers, others broadcast questions or comments as a form of catharsis; and a smaller group of consumers actually hope to receive a response directly from the company. The reality is that social media is the new normal. A myriad of social networks, whether you use them or not, are now part of the day-to-day digital lifestyle with Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Youtube among others becoming the places where your customers connect, communicate, and engage around experiences. They take to these social networks and more because they can. The question is, what are you going to do about it?
There’s been many debates as to whether or not social media promotes activism or whether or not it’s actually fostering a lazy form of participation. Retweets and Likes don’t bring about change. While I believe social media is a strong platform for raising awareness, the relationship between cause and effect is defined by action regardless of medium.
I can’t be the only one to notice this…infographics, “viral” videos, Like and Retweet campaigns, they all seem to be trying a bit too hard lately. For example, most infographics I see today are no more than visual press releases with graphical elements tied to information…and then more information…but wait, then more information. If this was just about visualizing scrolls of information, then anyone using free infographic generating tools and a list of interesting data points could make pinteresting graphics. The key is to think less about the packaging and more about the story you want to tell. But even more importantly, it’s time to put the social in social media and craft the story you want people to talk about and share.
Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.
His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.