For a lot of organizations—including business, nonprofits, and governmental agencies—use of social media very often begins in Marketing, public communications, or a similar office or department with a direct connection to customers and stakeholders.
This makes sense given that a typical driver for getting involved with social media is a slew of negative comments, a need for “virility,” or a boost to overall awareness in the marketplace and especially in the minds and hearts of those customers increasingly out of reach of interruptive (aka “traditional”) media.
In a word, many organizations are looking for “engagement,” and they see social media as the way to get it. The advent of Web 2.0 and the Social Web is clearly a game-changer, on numerous fronts. Given the rush to implement, and the opening focus on marketing specifically versus the business more holistically, many “social media projects” end up being treated more like traditional marketing campaigns than the truly revolutionary ways in which a savvy business can now connect with and prosper through collaborative association with its customers.
As a result, the very objective—engagement, redefined in a larger social context—is missed as too many “social media campaigns” run their course and then fizzle out. Whether that’s right or wrong is another matter, and the truth is that a lot of great ideas have given rise to innovative, effective, and measurable social business programs.
But these are still the exceptions, which is unfortunate as social technology is within the reach of nearly everyone. The collaborative technologies that now define contemporary marketplaces—technologies commonly called “social media,” the “Social Web,” or “Web 2.0”—offer a viable approach to driving changes in deeper business processes across a wide range of applications.
Consumers have taken to the Social Web in an effort to share among themselves their own direct experiences with brands, products, and services to provide a more “real” view of their research experience. At the same time, consumers are leveraging the experiences of others, before they actually make a purchase themselves. The impact on marketing has been significant, to say the least.