Sunday, July 12, 2009

Social Web Strategy: Status Report

Companies utilizing social networking platforms have primarily focused on its use as an extension of marketing and Public Relations. Most senior executives grasp the idea of building "brand awareness" and since entry costs appear to be low, why not? This is about the change.

The rapid adoption of social networking by a much larger base of users, across every demographic, and age group, is creating a new "context" for its use, and one that is incredibly timely given the challenges companies face to reach new customer prospects, and convert prospects into customers. For example, there is increasing evidence that traditional lead generation programs, offline and online, are in a deep state of fatigue...faltering at all points of measurement...particularly "conversion".

Many social web strategists, draw a correlation between the growth of social networking, as a primary communications tool, and growing resistence by many recipients to opening their opted-in email messages from favorite brands.

Using the social web to conduct social media campaigns focused on customer engagement, and prospecting for new customers has now taken center stage. What was just a novel "brand awareness" strategy just ten months ago, is giving way to "front-line" internal communication strategies within the companies, across many departments and team leaders. I anticipate that we are about to witness a fast-paced shift away from the use of Twitter, and Facebook as a general communications tool, to one focused on immediate and consistent contact with customers, engaged, and responsive. To be truly effective, and enable companies to move from social engagement to order transaction, there must be a strong commitment by management to implement "collaborative-type communications" internally. This will take place in many forms, some in a structured and measured form, others organically, and even a bit chaotic.
Its all good, so long we are involved, and listening...That is the world we live in now, and awareness to it is what social web strategy is all about.


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