Most companies nowadays feel the imperative to “leverage social media to engage in authentic conversations with their audiences.” In the worst case scenario, they see social media as a channel that can be tapped into; in the best case, the majority of companies look to foster authentic conversations with their audiences that can help then understand their customer’s needs, shape their brand image, and engage with new audiences to drive business results.
That’s well and good, especially for digital marketers like myself… This is a long-overdue and necessary shift in mindset that needs to happen, in order for “Brands” to rebuild some form of marginally meaningful connection with their customers and prospects. Authentic conversations [read: two-way] between individuals (companies are made up of individuals) hearken back to the days of old, when reputation and trust was built on social recommendations via word of mouth: think of the open bazaar where everyone knew the vendors by name and knew which vendor was good at producing certain produce. So at it’s core, the social media revolution in its current form, is really about cutting away the old industrial complex of marketing that was built upon one-way bullshit message blasting. Good.
So this is where the majority of the market seems to be right now: acknowledgement of and experimentation within, the social media marketing world. And of course it is no surprise that we’re now seeing a fledgling new media consultancy/agency ecosystem sprouting up and making a killing in the space; smaller but extremely talented newcomers are making a killing and even the bigger dinosaurs [traditional digital agencies] are starting to pay attention.
But I truly believe that the more interesting emergent dynamic to the social media game has yet to hit the mainstream: true internalization of the core principals behind new media. In the shorter term, this can manifest itself in Brands beginning to internalize input from customers and incorporate that input into product development lifecycles.
In the longer term, however, I believe that promise of co-creation and co-innovation will deeply permeate corporate culture, eventually leading to the emergence (and re-definition) of new corporate structures that will be self-assembling (perhaps on a project basis) and will be able to tap much more effectively into their “employee’s” innate passions and abilities. This will not only benefit companies in that they will be able to find people who have a much more perfectly-matched skill-set for a particular project/initiative, but also that those people will be much more passionately engaged in what they will be doing on a daily basis.
This kind of stuff makes me reminiscent of my unique experiences with “The Business Experiment” – a project organized by Robert May which was aimed at leveraging the “wisdom of the crowds” to assemble and create a business online. Despite its failure, I truly think there was something there…