Check out this article. Shouldn’t libraries be included in this equation?
Social media is changing everything. Business Week recently published an article about the power of social media and how companies are beginning to embrace it, because they really don’t have a choice. Not everyone has a blog, or wants to blog, but you would be hard pressed to find many people who aren’t on some type of social network. Now it’s time for corporate America to follow suit and meet their potential customers on their own turf, or risk falling behind the times.
The article says, “It’s as if the walls around our companies are vanishing and old org charts are lying on their sides.”
This concluding section of the article is great:
Controlling the conversation
Social media is a constant conversation and because of this, business is now a constant conversation. It’s a comment string on Brazen Careerist, its someone’s Facebook wall, and it’s a Linked In recommendation. Someone, somewhere is out there talking about your company, and they can say whatever they want. All you can do is control the conversation.
Controlling the conversation does not mean telling people how to talk about your company or spamming a couple bloggers with job postings or company descriptions. It means creating a presence where you can initiate and continue a conversation.
What social media requires is authenticity, because even a newbie social media user can sniff out a phony quickly. But authentic conversation isn’t what most companies do naturally. So when corporations want to initiate a conversation, they have to find the right people, and they better empower those people to tell the truth, which isn’t always great news to deliver.
Starbucks is a great example. When things started going south, they publicly admitted to being at fault. They started a social networking site to ask for help from the customers. And we all remember when they shut down the stores across the country for an afternoon to address some fundamental problems. Smart decisions like that come when you take the time to start a conversation and then remember to listen, too.
It’s not easy. It takes a ton of time and it may even consist of a couple full time hires, but establishing a social media presence is worth it. Sooner or later every company will be actively using social media, but the trendsetters are the one’s who will get the most out of it. Don’t be left behind.
It fascinates me to see these discussions playing out in business, education, non-profits and more. Read the comments as well for more opinion and viewpoints.