After many conversations, articles and researches about Social Media, the conclusion is there's still an educational and impact gap with regard to SM on exec-level which partly is sustained by the overly interest and hype around the phenomenon.As a guide in this article I will refer to an article by eMarketer which is published on the 10th of September. According to the article "Executives and Social Media", executives value but have concerns towards Social Media.
Social Media benefits the following, according to the white paper from Russell Herder and Ethos Business Law which is used in the eMarketer article:
More than eight in 10 management, marketing and HR executives responding to the July 2009 survey cited relationship- and brand-building as benefits of social media. Execs also considered social media a good tool for recruitment (69%) and customer service (64%), and 46% thought it enhanced employee morale.
These figures are not surprising, enhancing one's brand and engaging with the target groups are one of the first and overarching benefits of Social Media.
The following two graphs from the article are interesting in relation to the abovementioned benefits:
Brand-building and Networking score high, which is not surprising, what is surprising is that Research and Competitive Monitoring are not as much deployed as they should be.
Understanding how target groups exist within the social sphere, understanding how competitors are positioning themselves within SM channels and learning from the environment all suffice Brand-Building.
Key fundamentals of SM are transparency, connectivity / interaction and co-creation, combine this with " the brand is what your target groups think it is " and executives certainly must understand the need and urge to discover and develop Social Media Intelligence as soon as possible . Business and changes arise faster and faster after each other, correct swift adaptation is key to thrive in the landscape.
Secondly, SM is new kind of applications are created, competition is fierce and visible, those who engage in the right and creative way will favor in the mindset.
The reasons " Do not know enough about it ", " confidentiality / security issues " and " No Need for it " do not sound like reasons why an executive should not strategize and deploy Social Media, it is simply reactions on the new way of conducting business.
Many aspects of Web 2.o are new and the skeptical reactions are natural, but they must not be reasons not to incorporated them in the strategy.
That has to do with the lack of education and insights on Social Media and despite the incorrect view executives have on SM
It's not just a tactic which you could integrate in your marketing mix or not. I do not understand why the eMarketer article refers to it as a "channel" that is being valued, as it is most definitely not.
Technologies have created a paradigm shift which is overarching and holistic, it changes businesses and how they compete, work together and reach out. Like the 7% of executives which think they have no need for it, it means remaining stuck in conventional processes which absolutely will be replaced by the New as a standard, creating a competitive disadvantage in the long run.
The impact must be emphasized better and clearer. There's still too much confusion and a narrow scope of what it means and can mean for business.
The question whether executives should or should not use Social Media is of course rhetorical. The answer is a firm Yes, unfortunately it's not a matter of choice.
The positive side of these developments is that they create a vast amount of new opportunities; new business arises, both on the demand and supply side. One of the big opportunities -which will be analyzed on this blog- is Television 2.0 where a conventional medium is transformed and 'socialized' in revolutionary ways.
The new economy is unstoppably being shaped and advanced.
What is your opinion? How should implementives approach the quest on Social Media?