Social Media and the changes it brings to communication

Posted on June 15, 2010

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@ SmartBrief Social Media featured article : http://www.personalbrandingblog.com/r-i-p-twitter-as-a-marketing-platform/

 

I think it is time to ask different questions about our Social Media tools.

Twitter and other Social Media tools have made not just marketing and PR different, but all our way to communicate. Internet in general is a very important phenomena, as it eliminated the gap of information, experts are not anymore the only resource… information has become closer to all of us, has become collaborative, easier to discuss and spread… Social Media is the consequence and evolution of that principle… for business in general, it implicates a transformation in the way publicity influences the credibility of companies and products. Nobody questions it, involving your costumers and stakeholders in all types of open discussions made a revolution on the credibility of companies. Word of mouth become as easy as sharing 140 characters to the world.

Those transformations have been changing traditional media as well… How magazines and newspapers adapt, get shorter, more practical with better experiences for the costumer. Everything becomes more human, closer to all of us… even on the commercials and pictures you can see that trend. David Meerman Scott has written about it at his white paper:

http://www.davidmeermanscott.com/documents/Gaijin_Male_Model.pdf

For the Brazilian’s out there, I have a another example, Globo’s many-years-old-high-school show Malhação (http://malhacao.globo.com/Novela/Malhacao/0,,4028,00.html) used to be the entrance scene for the next generation of good looking actors and actress of Brazil. When I was back to Brazil after 3 years away, I saw a big change in there… the actors in the show, they look just like my own high school class with all sorts of looks…not surprisingly, the quality of acting of this normal-looking young actors has improved tremendously.

 

All those are great news and widely spoken… we are just becoming more human. Despite of what is widely sad, on my opinion, there is still even more opportunities in there.

 

With all this open communication tools and human connections closer than ever to us, companies have the chance to be more transparent than ever.

 

In a world increasingly craving for transparency, integrity and collaboration… Social Media is just the perfect match to make everybody have a voice and an overview of a company business as a whole… staff closer to the board, suppliers closer to costumers, and so on…

 

To list a few benefits of engaging in open dialogue:

– You easily connect to a organization on which you understand its mission, That you feel you can make part of and can contribute to it.

– Innovation come from every layer in an organization not just from top managers close doors meetings… open conversation helps people to see farther on the chain and understand their piece of business and how it can contribute to a whole.

– Transparency is the key element to build trust and credibility. A step closer to sustainability.

 

While not ask some other questions?

  • Isn’t it time to break our operations into human relations and collaboration as never before?
  • Isn’t transparency and ability to listen to your stakeholders two of the highly appreciated values companies can have?
  • Is it not a good challenge and a great opportunity to open up?
  • Why not get your staff openly sharing info and discussions in Twitter, Facebook and so on… Can’t we better engage our teams to communicate openly in Twitter …to engage our costumers and our stakeholders in general on our daily tasks?

I can imagine a situation where open project’s and issues’ discussions help teams to achieve more creative, innovative and transparent results. Perhaps Google Wave will become a ultimate resource for collaboration and management (To not talk about the education potential it will have). I can also see Internal and External communications getting mixed in one single channel…

 

Two criticisms that can come here are: the confidential data flow and the preoccupation with competitors. Someone would say: obviously a research team will not share their innovations or new formulas… but thinking very straight forward, imagine the benefits for a company having a whole scientific research community world wide?… what about the patent rights? I ask, how long more will we stick to patents?… not very long I would argue. In a open conversation, the thought leaders are on the spot, everything coming after will play catch up just as we see today… we will not just know who created it, but follow the origin of the innovation, perhaps even participate on it. I do believe that a sustainable organization have services and products that are relevant, this is what will matter for the final costumer, and it is becoming one of the main matters for shareholders as well… your innovation will be innovation with or without patents and data protection… with a plus that they will be a lot deeper and necessary.

That way of thinking will make enterprises a lot more competitive, efficient and profitable… also markets will be clear on the terms of competing. On the ethical society we are entering, and with the fast flow of information (even when we try to block it, it is still flowing) this is just the next natural step.

 

I have hoped on our Social Media strategy to have our small team interacting online… but I got first challenges facing this theory… lack of interest, lack of familiarity with the tools, believing that it is not important and will no bring results to the team and the (most wanted) difficulty of measure the results… lot of work to do in there yet…but I definitely think it is worth the thought.

 

Leo

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