It is 2012. Not 2003. Or 1986 (remember Bulletin Board Systems? or FidoNet? or 1200 Baud modems?)
Do it right or don’t do it at all. In 2012, big is becoming small and small is becoming large. Your business is the target.
In the 1920s the average lifespan of a company was seventy odd years, today its fifteen years according to Dave Gray of Dachis Group. Why you ask? Failure to adapt and understand the market. If you are still trying to understand if this social computing/media fad will stick around or not, you have clearly missed the boat. And there are no shortcuts, anymore.
The leaders in the digital space have sacrificed, learned, made mistakes and apoligized and re-imagined their future over and over again. They have transformed their businesses to take advantage of this new model of conducting business. No, it’s not just Dell, Intel, IBM, Cisco, TD Bank, Avaya, PwC, Pepsi, Kraft, US Cellular, Comcast, AT&T, TELUS, Bayer, COMEX, Walmart, AMEX, ING, Zappos, Amazon or 52% of rest of the Fortune 500 in process of realizing social’s potential in driving their business objectives. Nor the thousands of superb small businesses with ability to connect and woo your customers.
US Cellular, Kraft Foods, and Discover Financial Network all indicate that culture change is the number one determinate of social success. But if you are still struggling. I blame you. No one else. If, 84% of top 35 banks have a holistic social media strategy in place and all of the G6 governments have some form of social embedded in their Gov 2.0 initiatives. Why are you still lost? In 2012. If highly governed banking sector can get it, you can too.
These companies just didn’t wake up to do social. They aren’t doing social media for the sake of doing social media. They are actually focused on social media to drive business. Are you still getting the same 0.XX% converstion from your direct mails? or Millions spent on Billboards without tracking? The connected consumer doesn’t care for mass advertising as much as they did pre-social media era. The ROI is right here. IBM saves $100m/year via social networking alone!
At the Gartner Portal and Collaboration Conference 2012, Gabriel Gheorghiu tweeted that firms are struggling at social media policy level. Imagine that. Execution is not even in their roadmap (or at least proper execution not mere social media pages/accounts).
While others are truly capitalizing and building networks, you are stuck at factory mindset of uber control in a real-time social medium. If you can learn from McDonald’s failures in the social media, it can be easily deduced that if your talent isn’t practising the social medium and understanding the context, they will execute and make very bad decisions. No matter where they are in their careers, intern or senior exec.
For the first time in our history, throwing money at agencies can’t just fix execution. This isn’t paid media. You need to understand the medium in its entirety. Marshall McLuhan had it right all along. Medium is the message. Even in 2012.