I had an interesting call with a US retailer a few days ago. And by interesting I don’t mean good. They are not a Gartner client and it became clear pretty quickly that they wanted me to prove how Gartner could possibly help them since they are on the leading edge of social media.
They talked about the special relationship they have with Facebook and the Facebook functionality and related technologies they are using. They also talked a good bit about Twitter. It was Facebook, Twitter, Facebook, Twitter (with some mobile technology this and that thrown in) and apparently they have little interest in LinkedIn, Pinterest and some other social Web environments.
So I started talking to them about social media strategy best practices and they stopped me cold. They said they had the strategy down and wanted to get into the weeds. I carefully remarked that, we can talk about the weeds, but they may not have the strategy down as much as they think. This is where it got a bit contentious (which is very unusual BTW) as they really did not like that I was questioning their leading edge status. After all, they have a special relationship with Facebook!
So let me go on the record here in stating that:
If you are talking primarily about social media channels and technologies then the chances are very high that you are not leading edge.
Leading edge organizations talk about the community collaboration they facilitate and the business value resulting from meaningful participant interactions.
And, from my research, the vast majority of organizations that are building high value customer communities are not doing it on Facebook or Twitter (or LinkedIn and Pinterest for that matter). Not that there is anything wrong with them (obscure Seinfeld reference).
Having a Facebook page and/or a Twitter account, no matter how robust, is no longer good enough to be leading edge (and it hasn’t been for quite a while). So I then went to this organization’s web site and Facebook page and didn’t really see any community collaboration facilitation going on. Though they did have a few hundred thousand Facebook “Likes.” So they’ve got that going for them (obscure Caddyshack reference).
Opposing positions welcome. I guess supporting ones are welcome also.
I co-authored a book "The Social Organization." Check it out!
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