Who still hates social media?
Some have been vocal in suggesting that the principles are right but the execution is worth only throwing out and replacing with “something real”.
In Jeremiah Owyang’s recent blog post following the Forbes CMO summit in Florida, the former Forrester analyst and now strategist for the Altimeter Group claimed that this group of chief marketing officers had “elevated” the social media discussion. Despite the prospect of shrinking marketing spend, he says, the marketeers had seen opportunities to “innovate with inexpensive channels” and not a moment too soon, as they were facing something new: a loss of power to the empowered consumer.
Owyang points out that social media in particular was “on the lips of nearly everyone”, with a focus on how it could apply to changes in influence, reputation management and be integrated with existing activity. One example he cites from the companies represented at the event is that of Ritz-Carlton hotels, whose hotel managers apparently review online chatter about their hotel before doing anything else of a morning.
Overall, 70% of CMOs polled by Forbes said they’d be doing more work in social media next year, now comfortable that it offers real value, though measurement was still in its infancy.
So how does the picture look in the UK? There is some caution but big organsiations have been listening and in some cases joining the conversations too. Retail is one sector where business understands the need for customer dialogue. It was more of an old fashioned PR stunt but Debenhams used social media to good effect with a twitter assistants day in September. Habitat was an early adopter but got off to a false start with the hashtags debacle, in which they attempted to piggyback serious stories like the Iran election protests in order to flog lampshades. ASDA’s new Aisle Spy and Your ASDA blogs are examples of a much more considered approach to long term engagement.
Twelve months ago the attitude of big business to social media ranged from cautious interest to total disregard. Now, in the UK too, the sound of consumer chatter is gaining an audience in the board room.