Despite hype, many enterprises still ambivalent about social media

While, the “Motrin Moms” debacle thrust the influential power of social media networks like blogs and Twitter into the limelight, it also highlighted the enterprise ambivalence around use of social media. Some experts placed the blame on Motrin’s poor use of social media, when in reality, Motrin didn’t leverage social media for its ad campaign or to quell the uproar over its highly controversial ad, instead it belatedly responded with a standard press release on its site.

Despite all the hype and publicity surrounding social media, there are plenty of well-known companies who  are either reluctant and/or clueless, when it comes to social media adoption. Larger companies are risk-averse and typically invest in communication/marketing channels that are mature and thoroughly vetted. Twitter is a great example of a site that probably wouldn’t pass the enterprise litmus test, partly because of its stability issues and also because enterprises still haven’t figured out how to use it effectively.

Even for the companies, who have set up accounts on many of the leading social sites, having a presence is a good start but that by itself is not enough.  Companies like Zappos have successfully leveraged social media because they have a highly engaged and customer-oriented culture where even the CEO is accessible  via Twitter. This further affirms that social media can help but it can’t replace pro-active customer engagement and to drive that interaction, companies either need to have or cultivate a customer-centric mindset. 

Infancy of social media combined with insane proliferation of new social tools and sites doesn’t help adoption either. While prominent blogs/bloggers are doing their part to further adoption of social networks, sites like Twitter could help themselves and enterprises by providing user-friendly tools to help companies manage customer engagement on their platform. This would be a much more effective way to increase enterprise adoption rather than solely relying on third-party applications or hoping that companies will figure it out themselves.

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