I went to this panel discussion at the University Club last night on social media. The conference room was flanked by a bunch of marketing MBAs trying to figure out how to integrate social media and the latest trends into their business processes. I’m not the trendsetter when it comes to this stuff, but I understand the importance of it and I use it to cultivate my network.
I came away thinking two things. I’m actually not really behind when it comes to the latest and greatest. I seem to know much more than I give myself credit for and could jive with what the industry experts (Google, Twitter, Salesforce, Foursquare, Myspace) were saying. That said, my company and conservative work culture are far behind. They’re far behind because they clearly do not understand the benefits. Hello, it’s not just about a friggin fan page! It’s about interacting with your customers. Do you think your customers want to wait around on a phone queue to talk to customer service and give feedback? No! They’re furiously tweeting about how they’re going to take their business elsewhere and they hope their whole network will do the same. They’re not ranting at you. They’re ranting about you to their friends and family. As business people (and when I say ‘business people’ I mean every working person in this world), we need to understand the customer experience. We need to interact with our audience. You cannot do that in a vacuum. That’s where social media comes in.
I often hear in my company, “Can you believe that blogger made our stock tank? Unbelievable. Bloggers can say anything. Their language isn’t approved. You can’t trust what they say.”
This is a new world. Do you think that people want to go to your boring ass web site to get your same, approved, plain vanilla statements on earnings? Fuck no! Why do you think they’re looking to bloggers? Because bloggers have a new perspective. It’s renegade. It’s different. It’s a new spin. Wake up, people. This isn’t hard.
Figure out the new technology, the new trends, and make it work for you.