2012: The year of social business success
Joyce Davis 06000019G0 JOYCE_DAVIS@US.IBM.COM | | Tags:  social-business
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As the holiday season is in full swing and we look forward to a new year, 2012 is the year for social business. From the retail industry to travel and transportation to consumer electronics, consumers now wield unprecedented power over how brands are perceived, and, as a result, the world finds itself at a transformative point with regard to how business is done.
As such, we predict the path to becoming a social business is inevitable. However, the differentiating factors – those that will separate the leaders from the masses – will stem from how effectively an organization embraces both a social business culture and the technology to deepen customer relationships, drive operational efficiencies, and optimize the workforce.
A social business shifts the focus from documents, project plans, and other temporary artifacts to the source of the energy, creativity, and decision making that moves the business forward: people. Instead of simply pushing messages and offers out to the market, marketing is engaging customers through open dialogue integrated with rich media capabilities that cater to customer preferences, buying patterns, and personal networks.
The guarded walls of the corporation are slowly turning into windows with a new level of trust, transparency and technology inside an effective social business, enabling deeper relationships with consumers.
Here are the top three reasons why becoming a social business is crucial for success in 2012:
It goes without saying that retailers should try to make the holiday shopping experience as stress-free as possible. Consumers want to be served. They want to shop as easily and conveniently as possible because they already know which products and brands they need before they enter the store. Social networks have become highly influential in the shopping process both online and offline. It means recognizing that customers are not passive recipients but active participants in the shopping process, giving them the facilities they need to participate in that process and making them feel like it is a pleasure to serve them.
A social business spreads content across various touch points because smart consumers listen to their families and friends first. The vast majority of consumers talk to relatives and friends or read independent reviews when they want to know more about a product. Only 18 percent rely on retailers and manufacturers. To truly become customer-centric, an organization needs to have the social media tools ingrained in its end-to-end business.
Real time has shifted the role of the consumer from creator to distributor. The old view of text-based social media, defined by blogs and forums, is being surpassed, moving the impact of social media from creating content and publishing to sharing other people’s content and “live” opinions about real-world events. By sharing content in real time, consumers have the resources, connections, and the credibility to create genuine online experiences, and the network to distribute those messages, giving them more influence than ever before.
In 2012, social business will be the gift that keeps giving. It’s this relationship between traditional content and real-time social that demonstrates how the two are interlinked and are driving a new social ecosystem. Just be sure your social media efforts offer something of benefit to the customer, and you'll see the benefit to your brand image and bottom line.