Social Media: Changing the Business Landscape

There is no doubt that social media has changed the face of business, communication and life as we know it today (that last part was added for drama).  A picture is worth a thousand words, and this infographic via Penn-Olson does just that:

1. From Selling to Connecting: Gone are the days of the used car salesman hustling his way into your wallet.  A successful business uses social media to listen to the customer, and actively responds to inquiries, complaints, comments and suggestions.

2. From Large Campaigns to Small Acts – Sure, companies still spend millions of ad dollars for that coveted 60 seconds during the Super Bowl half-time, but small acts such as swiftly responding to consumer complaints are becoming more and more valuable.  You know how they say a bad shopping experience will result in the customer telling 10 of their friends, who then tell 10 more of their friends etc?  Well with tools such as facebook, twitter and blogging, that negative experience is echoed to thousands reaching an audience from here to Timbuktu.

3. Letting Go and Becoming More Transparent – Businesses are encouraged to step out of their fortified, corporate image and leverage the power of employees to act as ambassadors by sharing their experiences via twitter, corporate blogs and other platforms.  This helps put a friendly face to the corporation, and provides an opportunity for employees to create relationships with potential and existing audiences.

4. Anytime, Anyplace: Availability within an Arms Reach – Consumers can now reach corporations in their preferred communications platform whether it is in140 characters or less (Twitter), email, discussion forums, snail mail or telephone.  The world is your oyster!

ARTICLE RATING: HOT

The article consistently provides great examples that help illustrate each point.  Websites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, Rate My Professor, and Twitter allow companies to tap in to the customer experience and receive feedback that ultimately paves the way for new business practices and early detection of problems.  Promptly responding to consumer feedback increases consumer loyalty and also publicly shows that as an organization you a) listen b) care c) follow-up.  Tip #3 could prove to be challenging to some organizations, with the main concern being the unpredictability of employee actions.  Drafting a corporate social media policy will help prevent inconsistencies, breach of information and other types of tomfoolery.

Critical to the success of a business operating in a digital environment is its ability to listen, react and respond to the customer.  After all, the customer is always right!

Resources: MashablePenn-Olson

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