SWA BlogLast week a study was released from a Boston based consultant firm (Cone) that stated almost 60% of Americans interact with companies on a social media website with one in four interacting more than once per week. The survey went on to say that 93% of Americans believed a company should have a presence in social media with a strong 85% thought that a company should be interacting with its customers through social media - as the standard.

For those of you who may not know me well, or have just started reading my blogs - I'm working on a PhD in 'I told you so.'

Last week I spent some time with the HR People Department at Southwest Airlines. My mission that day was to talk about social media and how it impacts HR and Recruiting. The day went off without a hitch and barring the fact that SWA continues to just wow the heck out of me with their culture and friendly employees, I felt like the message was delivered pretty clearly... You can't ignore social anything.

Of course, Southwest Airlines is no slouch when it comes to social media. Moving toward it's third year (someone correct me if I'm wrong here...) Nuts About Southwest, one of the leading corporate blogs on the Internet continues to inspire other companies to embrace this wacky thing called a blogosphere. What's the big win there? It's conversation - it's dialogue - it's true "2.0" engagement. SWA gets it.

What is truly interesting to me is how the public is not just grabbing on to social media - but rather embracing it - much faster than most companies are willing to keep up. Notice that I'm not saying that the companies CAN'T keep up... It's my opinion that they either don't understand the win or are just too scared to get 'transparent' to their customer base.

The above mentioned Cone survey went on to reveal that of the younger and harder to reach target market (ages 18-34) 1/3 believe that companies should actively market to them via social networks - with the same being true of the wealthier households with incomes in excess of $75,000/yr. 2/3 of these households felt a stronger bond to brands they connected with online versus standard marketing channels.

A fun statistic that I like to throw out anytime that I present is via a little tool called Alexa.com. Haven't heard of it? Take a few minutes to check it out. As of my fun times at SWA last week it showed that 6 of the top 10 trafficked websites on the Internet were socially driven networks - with the remaining 4 being search engines. The SE's are sort of a no-brainer though - after all, how many of us have a search engine as our browser's homepage?

What's the message here? What's the takeaway? In a nutshell it's this: If you or your company are still waiting to embrace social interaction with your customer base on the Internet - you've passed the curve of caution and are rapidly approaching the mark of failing.

originally posted here...

Views: 13

Comment by Dennis Smith on September 30, 2008 at 10:47am
Wow...great stuff. And I love the last line..."If you or your company are still waiting to embrace social interaction with your customer base on the Internet - you've passed the curve of caution and are rapidly approaching the mark of failing."

You're a great writer, dude.


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