In early 2010 I wrote a post about the 3 types of social media strategy. You can just bolt social media on to their existing marketing strategies, or you can optimize social media throughout your company to maximize your existing strategy or there is the elusive approach of maximizing your business for social media. This would be to build your strategy from the ground up around social media. Most companies using the bolt on strategy, some companies are flirting with the maximizing social media approach and arguably few companies are using the purely social strategy (companies like Facebook and Zynga may be the closest examples).
There is also the obvious approach of ignoring social media all together. This approach has actually worked well for a number of years but this approach won’t work well going forward. The ongoing recession will continue to drive greater consumer and employee distrust and without the return on total investment that social media can bring (greater returns and lower costs) companies will find traditional only marketing approaches to be increasingly costly and ineffective.
Every company needs to become more social going forward not because your business model will quite working (at least not right away) but because your competitors – direct or indirect – will gain such a competitive advantage over you that your market and your ability to compete in that market will disappear. If you don’t build the capabilities and attributes that go along with being an active participant in social media you will eventually find:
- You won’t be able to acquire or retain new customers
- You won’t be able to compete for the best talent
- Your partners will stop doing business with you