For entrepreneurs, business owners, investors, and consultants, one of the most exciting prospects of social media, lies in the ability to dramatically amplify your visibility and value proposition among existing and potential stakeholders. Social Media finally places small, local and emerging businesses in the spotlight in ways that up until this point, were largely unattainable.
I spend a great deal of time working within the B2B sector, among other things, and social media is a growing and or pervasive program within a comprehensive, integrated communications and service strategy. In almost every scenario I’ve encountered, executives, marcom and service executives, and brand managers have generally assumed that social and interactive activities and programming were ideally best suited for consumer applications. However, as we recently explored, in Social Media, it’s not just business, it’s business-to-business.
In the past, it was somewhat difficult to have true customer conversations. We were able to solicit customer feedback, but we weren’t always good at responding. The fact is, we didn’t have a good way to easily get back to customers with resolutions to problems or closure to suggestions. Customers would feel they were sending their comments and concerns into a “corporate black hole”, never to be seen or heard about again. Nowhere was this truer than with customer comments about areas for improvement or solutions to previously unknown problems.
I’ve been spending a fair amount of time touring the world in support of my ideas and thoughts on the direction of new PR, branding, service, and marketing communications. My reward and inspiration to continue is sourced from each person I meet and the experiences and challenges they share. I’ve learned that our greatest hindrance to evolve is not our unwillingness to do so, our indoctrination in new media and communications is truly obstructed by the executives to whom we report and serve.
Recently, I reviewed Twibs, a directory that lists all brands and businesses currently using Twitter.
Electric Artists released Tracking Twitter, a new app that is a real-time listing of the top brands, media, television, entertainment, and celebrities that the team is currently following on Twitter.
While this service offers appeal as a directory for consumers seeking their favorite brands and personalities on Twitter, it’s much more promising as a real-time monitor of how businesses, media properties, and celebrities are using Twitter – for better or for worse.
In the middle of February 2009, the company was yet again a “Beacon” for bad PR as it introduced an updated Terms of Service (Tos) for its entire community of users. We the people responded with defiance and vigor and the company retracted its new language, reverted to the previous ToS, and listened to the valuable feedback that poured in from the community.
Twitter continues to inspire creativity and innovation among third-party developers. The latest useful solution is Twibs, a directory of businesses using Twitter to communicate with consumers, peers, and tastemakers.
Twitter is a conversation platform and it continues to fundamentally transform how people communicate with each other. Along with other socialized channels of online interaction, Twitter has also re-ignited the long-forgotten art of listening to and communicating with customers.
In March 2008, Gary Vaynerchuck experimented with @santagaryvee on Twitter where he would announce special Wine Library deals and opportunities exclusively for his loyal followers on the popular micro community. While he slowly phased that activity back into his main Twitter streams, many companies were introduced to a new way to engage and harness enthusiasm among those potentially interested in something new and special.
Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research firm focused on disruptive technology. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging technology on business, marketing, and culture. Solis is also globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. His new book, What's the Future of Business (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold and flourish 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. Prior to End of Business, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.