Hourglass: Making the Most of Your People
Digital Transformation: Engage Customers Through Social Media
When Facebook announced last summer it had registered half a billion users around the globe, it resulted in a flurry of publicity and commentary.
The media excitement grew exponentially this January when Goldman Sachs invested $450m in the social networking site - and valued it at a jaw-dropping $50bn.
It is clear that social networking has become one of the dominant cultural phenomena in these digital times.
The rapidity of this rise to prominence in everyday life for so many people, as well as its global impact, is remarkable. What had appeared to be simply another Western teenage fad was, in fact, being embraced by many different societies and groups of people around the world. Might this 500m-user milestone and $50bn valuation be the warning shot for organisations that had previously considered social media an irrelevance? Is it now time for all businesses to start thinking about its potential impact?
A number of leading organisations have already recognised the importance of engaging their customers through social media. Firms such as BMW, Coca-Cola and Starbucks have been using YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social media mechanisms to grow awareness of their brand and products and to build customer loyalty.
It's not surprising, then, to see these same organisations and other early adopters feature prominently in social brand indexing services provided by such companies as Vitrue, Vivaldi Partners and Techlightenment.
As you might expect, the picture social brand indexing paints is one of rapid, dynamic change. Top brands swap places, often many times a day. What is also interesting to see is the gap between the leading global brands that have developed a strategy and those that remain uncertain about what the social media phenomenon means for them.
In the rest of this article we explain what social media is and how it differs from, and is similar to, traditional marketing and communication media. We look at some of the reasons the leaders are successful and what lessons they may offer. We also explore the potential value of social media for business and most importantly, how to get started and successfully grow in this dynamic, burgeoning marketplace.