Business as Social: Part 1
Fast-forward 5 years and a lot has changed. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, 70% of companies are using some form of social technology.[i] Yet while companies have overwhelmingly accepted the premise that business must be social; it is also obvious that they are still struggling to determine exactly what that entails. Numerous surveys and studies bear out how companies continue to wrestle with the transition to social. Much as we knew in my marketing classes, I believe most companies have come to realize that social is not purely a marketing channel. I applaud them for grasping that making business social does not simply entail creating a Facebook page and blasting ads to whoever “Likes” them. There is a sense that companies have embraced social as a space to engage on a more personal level and in doing so nurture a community that can provide valuable feedback. In particular, very small and very large companies have benefitted from this dynamic. Small companies have learned to leverage social as a way to appear bigger than they truly are, by cultivating communities that are often intensely devoted to their brand. Conversely, very large companies have embraced social as a means to appear smaller than they are, humanizing what was previously perceived as a faceless corporation. I have a sense that most attendees at the conference were still at this stage. They accept the premise that their business must be social, that it must engage in order to nurture and find value in their social communities, and they wish to learn how to do this better. However, this is simply playing a game of catch up. Conducting business in a manner that customers and competitors have come to expect. There was something much more radical on display at the conference and those who had their eyes open saw a radical transformation beginning to take shape on the horizon.
[i] McKinsey&Company, The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies, July 2012, http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/mgi/research/technology_and_innovation/the_social_economy
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