What is the status of Social media in business? I will take part in the forthcoming Social Media Impact conference due to take place in Marrakech, Morocco on October 11-12. Here is an interview I delivered a few weeks ago in order to introduce my pitch over there.
What is social media’s place in the business world today?
It’s actually quite different from what it used to be. We’re about eight years after the introduction of social media in the enterprise so my perspective in this SMI presentation in Marrakech will be that of somebody that manages social media in the enterprise and that has been doing so for the last five years. So obviously the kind of place we are in at the moment is that of the structuring of the initiative. We shall see three major phases in the project surrounding the presentation in social media within the enterprise:
- the triggering of the project: proving the concept and that it is really worth doing.
- the development phase: how one ramps up and scales.
- the structuring phase: that’s where we’re at. The structuring of the organization, the processes and everything else.
With the constant growth and reach of these social networks, can a company survive without them today?
Obviously, certain companies can survive without social media, it depends what you do. If you deal in plastic for instance, there are very few chances that you’re going to be a major player in the collaborative web.
Now, if you’re in a Market definition in B2B and B2C - The very notion of "market" is at the heart of any marketing approach. A market can be defined... like the telecoms, as we are, or in any CPG market, you’ll have to be where your customers are, and customers are there, online. Northern Africa has been absolutely booming in terms of social media usage and so yes, brands have to be where customers are, to initiate or engage in the conversation.
As a company, how do you know which social media fits best to the message you wish to pass along?
There are a number of things I will dwell on in this presentation. To start, I will change that notion of message, because this is not how social media is working. We’re not working with messages but with conversations which we may not have initiated, or at least not in a traditional way. I will also go through a number of business cases taken from Orange from all over the world (Spain, France, England, Romania), and I will go through all these examples and show some of these cases and their return on investments.
What are the major threats posed by the use of social media in a company?
Well, if you don’t handle social media very well then you could face a number of threats. I think threat number one is just not being there, thinking that the conversation doesn’t happen simply because you’re not listening to it. Threat number two is, once you’re actually there and have engaged in social media, letting things get out of hand. So you have to be there nurturing, every day, and be sure to respond to, if not everything, as much as you can. So there are loads of processes and organization: it’s probably easy to do social media for yourselves, but if you’re a large organization then it is very different.
How do you see the future of social media in the corporate world in the near future?
I think the landscape is going to change dramatically in the next few months and years. We’re going to see a lot more governance thrown in to social media and the way it is organized, or rather disorganized right now. There is going to be massive endeavours in terms of how we train people and get them up to speed with regards to social media, and not just the ‘experts’, or the ones in charge, but the entirety of the enterprise.