Networks versus media

The research that I have been recently undertaking for IG Digital has been highlighting a distinction that has been apparent to me for some time now. Whilst individuals tend to regard social networks as a means for two-way communications, organisations primarily view social media as an opportunity to transmit information, to broadcast.

This is evident in the way that most of the organisations with whom I spoke saw, roughly speaking:

– Twitter (and to a slightly lesser extent Facebook) as a marketing channel
– LinkedIn as somewhere where HR could advertise jobs
– and unsolicited communication from customers via social channels as something to be triaged into established customer service channels (email and phone)

This all makes nice logical sense, but I see something of a time bomb. At a time when use of telephone and email seem to be in decline in how many of us want to communicate with each other, organisations tend to be reinforcing those channels as the way that they want us to communicate with them. At very least this is going to result in a mismatch in customer expectations.

Here comes an opportunity in many markets, though. The opportunity to differentiate yourself from you competitors not by the product or service that you offer, but by the way in which you communicate, you converse with your customers. By being networked with them.

You can join us for the launch of the IG Digital report “The Social Challenge” as part of Social Media Week on September 23rd.

You can also sign up to receive the report by email when it’s published on the 23rd.