I am trying to figure out where most business-to-business companies land in the social media market, after a conversation with a colleague yesterday. I was thinking of a Brian Solis article I read about a month ago, “10 Stages of Social Media Business Integration.”
Solis lays out a continuum from observing, getting a social presence, responding by reacting, and researching to provide relevance and focus. I decided our firm was emerging into the fifth or sixth stages Solis outlines.
Stage 5: Turning Words Into Actions. The two tag words here are “empathy” and “purpose”; understanding in order to best connect and giving an audience something to believe in. I think we’re getting closer.
Stage 6: Humanizing the Brand and Defining the Experience. The tag phrases here are “humanization of the brand” and “experience,” meaning establishing a persona worthy of attention and directing traffic to a more dynamic, vibrant, and useful web and brand experience. Maybe.
I figure that’s about as high as most organizations go today—mostly because I really only understood the next level, Stage 7: Community, and I know most businesses have not developed truly vibrant social media communities, though I know some that have.
It’s an interesting notion. Attention is scarce, and it’s the cyber currency that marketing communications and public relations are designed to bring in.
I have no grand conclusion on these matters, but am pondering a basic Stage 5 question that’s critical in an increasingly social marketing environment, in which all participants get increasingly more news from increasingly more sources that are increasingly more personal (as opposed to mediated): to what do you want your audience, customers, and market to attend to and why?