Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Brian Solis: How Businesses Learn the Value and Impact of New Media: Uh-Oh vs. Aha Moments

In celebration of National Small Business Week…

This year, Social Media marketing will gain significant support in resources and investment across businesses of all shapes and sizes.

So what’s new?

Now, a line is being drawn between edglings and underlings. Where we choose to stand affects the presence of our brand and value in new markets and our ability to capture attention where and how it is focused – both online and in the real world,.

On one side of the commerce quandary, business owners will have either flirted with or grasped the new media landscape and how it fits in with conventional touchpoints. On the other side, we have everyone else, those who will witness the possibilities and importance of the social Web via a pivotal “Aha” or “Uh-Oh” moment.

Aha’s will arise when the “consumer” that lives dormant inside each one of us finally awakens. Yes, outside of our business focus, we actively search for products and services. We are, in addition to many other things, consumers as well. We ask friends for recommendations. We research options. We make purchases. And, we share our experiences. Yet, we tend to neglect this useful and invaluable perspective when we operate in business mode. Suddenly everything we see, hear, and say is filtered through the eyes, ears, and voice of someone with a bottom line, responsibilities, goals, and not necessarily purpose and resolve.

Consumers are taking to the social Web to seek and offer advice and direction. Businesses win and lose in those conversations every day and as such, decisions are made with or without us.

Now, the Uh-Oh moment on the other hand, is inevitable and with it, a sense of urgency is thrust upon its unsuspecting victims. This occurs when we suddenly realize that our competitors are unusually succeeding while our revenue flatlines or even worse, declines. Or, depending on circumstances, we suddenly face an eruption of negative commentary and reviews that propagate detrimental experiences or sentiment.

In both cases, new media provides us with the tools and lenses that allow us to find and steer experiences, transactions, and sentiment. It just requires acceptance and dedication to learning, participating, and tracking how the creation of these new social touchpoints contribute to customer acquisition and retention.

Even though we make an official investment in something that’s not only new and uncertain, we expect a return on time, money, and energy. While experimentation is part of the process, dedication to improving our bottom line is something that doesn’t lose significance – nor should it. Therefore, our efforts must be designed with intention, purpose, and value in mind. Everything is measurable and as such, what it is we want to measure must not only be defined, but also balanced with the interests of the communities in which we participate.

The dichotomy between intention and outcome is defined by our actions and words. Ergo, the experiences we induce are measured by the reactions of those we engage.

Once we decide to focus our efforts and ultimately how, when and where we socialize service, marketing, communications, sales, and community development, essentially, every part of our business, we begin the beginning of our future.

This is your time to become the expert you seek. By answering our own questions, we can participate in social networks in ways that boost visibility, attract customers, and empower a community of customers and advocates to create new business opportunities, improved customer service, and also a more valuable service offering as tuned by our stakeholders. Please read more @ Brian Solis

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