It’s been quite a while since the world has been gripped by the Social Media fever . However, as is the case with any new concept that catches the masses by their eyeballs and wallets, social media too has turned into a big Gold Rush with many following suit. Suddenly, plenty of creative designers, copywriters, and account managers have now turned into peer-recognized and self-proclaimed social media specialists.
Yet, like every time the dust rises, it also has to settle down. When it does settle down, are we going to see despair as we did with the Dot Com bust in the 1990s? For everyone’s sake, I hope not, but, somewhere deep inside I sense a repeat of history.
Can businesses reinvigorate themselves from the inevitable social media overkill when the time comes? Yes, it can and this will be the time when they wake up to Enterprise 2.0. Coined by Andrew P. McAfee, Enterprise 2.0 is defined as “Enterprise 2.0 is the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers.”
However, the future will not be just about Enterprise 2.0 platforms; this will also be a journey of how the corporate world adopts its Customer Engagement Strategies. Customer Engagement sees itself metamorphose itself over 4 key stages, namely, Initiation, Integration, Intelligence and Value Creation.
- Initiation – being the welcoming stage for the customer
- Integration – stepping it up to engage the customer to consume the products or services
- Intelligence - used to accumulate past learning and understand the customer’s engagements
- Value Creation – to develop an ongoing relationship through knowledge gained from the previous 3 stages.
Today, we can witness a trend where Initiation and Value Creation are being actively promoted on the Social Media ecosystem through interactive products like events, games, competitions, etc. Obviously, these are conceptualized from the Intelligence gathered over time through proven methodologies. However, a weak Integration presence would result in many customers being bored of all the fun around without any real work being done. All Play and No Work can also make Jack a dull boy.
So, what does all this mean? This means that until Social Technology evolves in such a manner that customers can execute business transactions via these platforms, they will over a period of time go the way of Newsletters and Raffle Draw tickets as just another marketing gimmick.
Yes, Facebook has taken interaction with the customer to different experience, but it still lacks that most important activity between a customer and a provider and that is the “business transaction”. Naively portrayed below is my vision of the future and where I believe the future should move to.
A world where one can log on to online banking, traverse to a single transaction and engage in a query or clarification with customer service.
The future is not just social and it’s not just business, but in a nutshell, it will and must be socio-business.