Developing a social media presence today will position your company for success in coming years, when virtually everything—phones, electronics, cars, and homes—becomes interconnected. All those connections will have a social dimension. Our digital experience will be entirely personalized to our unique tastes and interests.
That Future Is Here: The Open Graph
The social fabric of the web already has its organizing framework: the Open Graph. Travis Katz, CEO of the travel site Gogobot, sees a future of the Internet “where every page is going to be personalized. If you plan a trip to Paris, you shouldn’t see 900 hotels. You should see six hotels based on where you stayed before; the places you checked in at on Facebook and Foursquare, and the places where your friends have stayed.
Embedding Social Media Throughout the Enterprise
Just as social is becoming inextricable from the web experience, it’s becoming permanently embedded in our work lives. Eventually there will be no corporate “social media team”—because social media tools and techniques will be so broadly distributed across your entire company.
Chris Boudreaux, a customer relations management and social media expert at Accenture, sees a pressing need for large businesses to ramp up their social media programs to enterprise scale, and to do so with operational excellence. “A lot of people talk about measurement being the biggest challenge with social media,” notes Boudreaux. “But in the years ahead I’d say the bigger challenge is doing the hard work of industrializing it, scaling it, and embedding it across the enterprise.”
We are at an exciting turning point. The major social networks have achieved massive scale, reaching close to 100% of online adults. Based on its membership of over one billion people, if Facebook were a country it would be the world’s third largest, after China and India
Yet the size of social media, its pervasiveness, and its interconnection with our online lives are far from mature. In the years to come, social media will be informing everything we do in marketing, public relations, and CRM.
Social media are the biggest story of the Internet in the last ten years. They are now one of the biggest, most timely topics in marketing. Certainly, the landscape is still changing and evolving. There is no sure blueprint for business success in this space.
But if your company approaches social media in a customer-centered way— listening more than talking, patiently cultivating relationships with customers rather than closing in for the quick sale—you will win in this game. If you develop campaigns that entertain, or stir cause-related passions, you will capture new leads and delight your existing customers. In the end, you’ll find social media will be among the lowest-cost, fastest-impact, and highest-return channels in your business.