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The Existential Threat of Social Media

The Existential Threat of Social Media

I have had a number of conversations recently with people in organisations that assert they do not need to worry about or are not interested in Social Media as it is not “relevant” to them or their sector. Their organisation is doing fine, they are leaders in their field and as it will take time and resource they see no need to extend their “marketing campaign” which is doing fine thank you very much. Also lot of talk about the ROI of their “doing” social media.

Apart from letting them into the secret that Social Media is only in very small part about marketing and that “doing” social media is in most cases a matter of getting to grips with implications of a changed mindset entering every part of their value chain,  I also get to talk about the existential threat that SM may well pose to their perceived sectoral dominance.

By that I mean that disruptive new business models that may threaten them are growing up as the social media mindset and the concepts like the long tail are increasingly pervasive and understood. Current dominance is no guarantee of future dominance and so by all means place your head firmly in the sand and ignore social media mindset for your own organisation but be sure that others will take a different view and you may well be staring down the barrel of new, agile and efficient competitor who is eating your sector, and you with it. So in many cases it is not a case of considering “doing” social media but often it’s what social media will “do” to you. The ROI is that in 5 years you will still be in business.

Sustainable is the new profitable

Sustainable is the new profitable

I was sitting in a café today, sipping my chai latte and waiting for two potential clients/partners to come along. Table next to me, two men in business suits, talking about something.. Suddenly they said the magic words (exactly, social media, how did you know) and my brain unconsciously tuned in to their conversation. The exact sentence was: “how can they possibly help us with social media if they don’t even know how to use it themselves, hardly 100 followers on Twitter and 14 on their FB page”. At which point my brain detuned in despair.

Ok, I must confess I’m particularly happy if I can stay away from numbers. However what is this need to quantify everything, why are we always thinking in numbers when numbers are just not enough? It’s about intangibles values, it’s about strategic thinking. And it’s not a social media strategy, it’s a business strategy in which Social Media are incorporated. A strategy that aims to improve engagement and trust, rather than immediate return on investment. Engagement and trust can last for ever, money can always (and too easily) run out.

The most interesting people I met through social media are people like the ones I just left today. Oh yes, their numbers: followed by 58 people, following 101 because they “take the time to listen to them all”. And I “sacrificed” 5 potential new “tweeple” and one new follower (this is the ratio roughly) to take the time to meet two of my tweeple in person and discuss an idea with them.

Sustainable is the new profitable. And – guess what – it doesn’t do numbers.

Social Media is Unleashed!

Social Media is Unleashed!

What a terrific evening!

Social Media Unleashed took place last night at The Lighthouse, and it was a full house. The event was the brainchild of twintangibles and New Media Corp who, with the help of some key partners, were able to put it together in a very short time frame. We didn’t advertise it heavily but registration was busy very early on.

The level of interest in coming to the event was, I think, a reflection of a couple of things. One was the quality of speakers we managed to attract. Quality presenters covering important themes and case studies that demonstrate real examples of some of that theory actually put into practice. The second factor that made it so popular is that there is real interest in the business community in how they can engage with social media to generate value, and too few events that get to grips with that in a practical way. Our hope was that as a result of attending delegates would leave with lots of ideas, a better understanding, and no “cookie cuter solutions”. Based on the feedback we have received so far that seems to be what we achieved. Attendees have more insight, are enthused but recognise that each of their organisations needs to think through and plan their approach to using social media to generate value.  Each of their plans will be different as it will need to reflect their specific aims and needs and that they made some good connections that can help them in that process.

The keynote session, hosted by Adam Gordon of Gordon BDM, feature Richard Ward of LinkedIn who demonstrated the breadth of innovation and development on the platform and the many ways it is working to deliver value to its users. Richard was joined by Paul McComish who inspired the room with an insightful case study of how he has used LinkedIn to generate £millions of business. John McLaren shared some laser like insight of trends and strategic thinking that so typically characterises Gartner‘s work, and Alan McCormack of McClure Naismith closed the opening session with a lawyers cautionary tale of some of the ever evolving legal challenges of social media in the workplace.

Some great networking and a glass of something in the cultured surroundings of The Lighthouse filled the interval before we plunged back in to hear Colin Gilchrist of Digital Face give a very expert guide to the art of managing a crisis through social media channels (slides available here) based on real experience of how he has helped clients fight those fires. Last and by no means least Richard Moir, CTO of Cisco Scotland, detailed real case studies of how a trusted and global technology firm actually uses Social Media for a variety of applications both internally and externally facing.

To cap it all the whole programme was captured on film by a team from – the Video Social Network based here in Scotland, and a team of budding journalists from City of Glasgow College.

Now for those that didn’t get there, and those that might want to revisit the content of such a packed evening we are doing our best to make some of the material available to a wider audience. Of course the challenge with such insightful speakers for such recognised and high profile organisations is that it takes  a bit of time to get all the clearance and releases required. I am a bit worried about some of my gaffes getting out there on the web, but I guess I can overcome the red face if it means sharing such great material from the speakers.

As and when we get it we will let you know. But next time make sure you book your place early.

Finally it only remains to say – if you enjoyed it let us know, if you want another let us know, if you have any particular aspects of Social Media you would like us to deal with let us know.

twintangibles and New Media Corp would like to thank the following organisations that contributed to making the event happen – give them a round of applause.

The Lighthouse


McComish Group



MCClure Naismith

Digital Face


Glasgow Chamber of Commerce

City of Glasgow College


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