I noticed the same question keeps coming up whenever new social media sites pop up and this is ‘how can my company benefit from this?’ My schools of thought around this concept for ages were something like ‘back off you money hungry large corporations’ not everything is here to be exploited in order to make a buck. Advertising just drives me crazy and any one who thinks they’re smart enough to do a ‘subtle’ marketing campaign via social media is just kidding themselves. I think that there is a general misconception about social networking – it’s not going to drastically change the business world forever – it’s not a cheap marketing tool that everyone can now successfully exploit by getting famous people to mention their brand a couple of times to build brand awareness.
It’s not going to solve any major problems or create solutions for business overnight (although I’m sure social networking discussion has stimulated some great ideas). This is in fact where many business’ are getting it wrong. A brand cannot be built on Facebook and a business cannot build a corporate online personality via twitter.
It’s about individuals and their ability to captivate an audience. The most successful uses of social media for corporations are when a ‘thought leader’ (an individual) creates rapport with an audience, normally on a global scale. They post, tweet etc. their ideas and the individuals within their field/industry that recognise them as thought leaders want to hear what they have to say.
The business’ that have used social media in an innovative way have been the ones who have hired and harnessed this talent, empowering their employees to speak online and subtly people realise they are from an organisation ie. @Padmasree (CTO of Cisco) @rexster (CEO of Deloitte digital).
So perhaps the solutions created or the problems solved by social media is having young ones like me being able to access the abundance of knowledge that would otherwise be unattainable to us without social networking – in terms of that affecting business – I guess there is a whole generation of us climbing up the corporate ladder getting a favourable/unfavourable impression of corporations based on the ‘thought leaders’ we are following on social media sites (ie. Twitter).