I believe that Social Media represents in two words and five syllables, nothing short of a revolution within any business or any industry for that matter. And, for individuals, it represents the democratization of media and equalization of influence. It presents an equal opportunity platform to broadcast and publish at will, earning audiences and prominence that directly align with the level of individual participation and investment in engagement. The socialization of media affects and empowers more than personal brands however.
Essentially all brands are entitled to become media, earn audiences and build online communities, and that is powerful as well as emancipating.
The Socialization of Business
Within every organization, Social Media is championed from within, sparked by external influences that awaken a new sense of awareness and inspire a genuine ambition to bring about change.
At some point however, social media permeates the fabric of every business until it reaches the very essence that defines the spirit, persona, and intention of the brand. It's natural of course, for new media's promise and opportunity to escalate within the organization once its potential is unlocked and revealed.
As such, the inevitable question emerges, "who owns social media."
What if we asked the question another way....Who owns email?
The answer is that email, even though it is among the most social of all channels we use today, is not owned by any one department. Email is simply a tool to communicate.
Once we let go of the rope in this veritable tug of war of who owns social media and realize that no one necessarily owns this diverse medium, we can then concentrate our efforts on shaping the perception of our brand and contribute to its sense of value and purpose within the influential communities that define our markets.
Social Media, at the very least, galvanizes the socialization of businesses, down to departmental and individual roles. Service, marketing, PR, HR, sales, finance, product, will maintain a social presence as dictated and demanded by their communities, thus evoking the movement from social CRM (sCRM) to SRM.
eMarketer recently shared a study published by Mzinga and Babson Executive Research that examined how each business area embraced social media...
As expected, marketing earned the top spot with 57% using social media as part of the overall program. Internal collaboration and learning followed with 39% and as the implications and unseen potential for new media unfolds, digital literacy becomes paramount for the future success of any business. Customer service ranked third with 29% and sales, human resources and strategy trailed at 25%, 21%, and 16% respectively.
Everything Begins with Listening and Research
While these numbers differ from business to business, one of the most interesting revelations for those brand managers and champions who proactively listen and study material activity online prior to engagement is that conversations tend to map perfectly to the infrastructure of any organization. Basically, the location, volume, topic, influential voices as well as the reach of conversations are not only discoverable, they align with the corresponding divisions of most organizations...
As eMarketer observed...
More and more opportunities will present themselves for companies to use social channels to increase their business. The landscape will change rapidly, so tactics that might have seemed irrelevant in 2009 might be on the table in 2010 or 2011.
The point is this, social media is owned by its participants and steered by the voices who invest its direction. In order to compete for attention, mind share, and ultimately the future, businesses must now engage in the very online societies in which our audiences seek, share, and discover guidance and information.We must step outside of our domain and come to terms with the reality that relevance and trust, moving forward, is now earned and not simply achieved.
Social Media is shared and it's a privilege.
When we pay attention to relevant conversations and in turn, organize them by the roles within our organization that are specifically impacted or affected, we remove the guesswork for how to build a social strategy and ascertain exactly how we can activate the social Web.
With the permeation of Social Media, the company matures, adapting and improving the culture, behavior, and overall mission of the business. Without evolution, the stature of what our brand was, slowly erodes as other socially-savvy competitors create awareness and connections.
Social Media forces us to find comfort outside of our comfort zones by listening, learning, and collaborating with peers, prospects and influencers engage today. As such, with social media comes great opportunity for those ready to embrace change from the inside out.
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Image Credit: Shutterstock, edited
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