The companies have yet to understand
When I first began to lecture and speak to people about social media I always, with no exception, received comments such as ”Ha, why should I be on Facebook? I don’t care about what people had for breakfast”. Additionally, the companies I met with also failed to see the meaning of a digital presence in addition to their website, which was then (and still is) seen as a weird version of the company brochure.
It didn’t bother me though. After all this was something new and few of us could foree the impact social media and digital would have on our day-to-day life.
Now, ten years later, I’m not as understanding anymore. And that’s because you could basically say that absolutely nothing has happened since I explained the difference between Myspace, and Twitter to the curious audience back in 2006.
At the same time, everything has actually happened during this time, the problem is that the companies missed the whole understanding of it.
When virtually every mom, dad, grandma and grandpa have a Facebook account, each person with a shred of need of attention update their Instagram accounts as if their life depended on it, and younger generations posts stories via Snapchat at the same speed as our politicians and celebrities tweet most companies have missed the whole thing.
Sure, social media is part of the marketing mix, but that’s just because the CMO might have just been to a ”Future Conference” and does not want to be caught of guard when the CEO ask how many fans the company has on Facebook.
Unfortunately, there very few companies that truly understand the possibilities that digital offers. How they can leverage the fact that we have cultivated people during the last 40-50 years into playing video games, always striving to level up their game. Or the fact that nowadays we are answering phone calls, sending emails and even seeing our actual heartbeats via our watch that we wear during work, training and posh dinners.
The fact that everyone below their mid 50’s (and most of the people over) expect to have access to everything at all times is something that companies who want our money have to understand and act on. This also applies to our demand for transparency. We tend to immediately get suspicious if we don’t get the chance to comment or discuss issues with companies that wants to do business with us.
What companies must first and foremost understand is that digitization has transformed us, especially our behavior fundamentally. It’s not the new media or the new channels that are the challenge; it is our requirements and expectations that are the big difference.
Therefore, companies must also realize that social media is not an additional option or something that one of the young talents could facilitate. It is something that must be high on the agenda and something that probably leads to new demands on the communications manager and when she has this figured out she will probably be part of the management team.
Proof of this is that those companies that are most successful at the moment are the big players, the ones who maybe were not the first one with a Facebook page but early on realized that digitization has created fantastic opportunities to understand and create relationships with their customers. And that listening is a key aspect in order to remain relevant.
Therefore, I am not only happy to live in a very exciting time, but also to have the opportunity to work with companies and people who understand the possibilities (and challenges) that digital offer us, and takes communication seriously.