Social connectivity: Friend or foe to corporations? | Opinions | ChannelWorld.in

PARTNER HOTLINES

Social connectivity: Friend or foe to corporations?

By Bart Perkins, Computerworld on Jan 09, 2012
Bart Perkins About the author

Bart Perkins, Computerworld

Bart Perkins is managing partner at Louisville, Ky.-based Leverage Partners Inc., which helps organizations invest well in IT. Contact him at BartPerkins@LeveragePartners.com .

In 1929, Frigyes Karinthy conjectured that anyone on Earth was connected to anyone else, on average, through just six people. Social networking may be increasing connectedness. Facebook recently studied connectedness among its 721 million active users, concluding that the average distance between any two Facebook users is now only 4.74 "hops" (down from 5.28 in 2008).

That connectedness has benefits for corporations, which can use social networking to provide easy two-way customer communication and facilitate targeted marketing. But increased connectivity has other implications:

News travels faster. Thirty years ago, dissatisfied customers usually told eight to 15 friends about their experience. Today they can (and do!) tell many more. The title of Pete Blackshaw's book says it all: Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000: Running a Business in Today's Consumer-Driven World. Moreover, according to Conversocial, many retailers fail to sufficiently monitor social networks ; it reported that several Fortune 500 retailers missed all consumer complaints on social networking sites during a five-day study in September 2011. Unfortunately, oblivious companies also miss the opportunity to address complaints before they spread widely. Reports of poor customer service can potentially result in numerous customer defections.

Even corporations with superior customer service can be trashed (or "bombed," in current lingo) by those who dislike their products or corporate policies. In an Amazon-bombing, for example, people coordinate an effort to give a product negative reviews. That's what happened to psychiatrist Carole Lieberman's book after she offended members of the gaming community by linking sexual scenes in video games to an increase in rape. Similarly, Google-bombing can trash organizational reputations through highly linked websites or social networks.

Stakeholders are connected. Everyone within your business ecosystem could potentially be connected: your customers, suppliers, bankers, lawyers and so on. (And any of them could be connected to your competitors.) Suppliers and customers could easily attempt to bypass you, thereby undermining your business and profits. Minimize this danger by treating your suppliers well. They are far less likely to bypass you if they feel you accommodate their business needs and enable them to earn a fair profit. The days of squeezing your suppliers are long over. Aim for mutual success.

Customers have more information. Retail customers do a lot of research before buying a product or service. Besides studying product features, many ask friends for recommendations. For major brands, the social-media link here is marketing tools like Facebook's Sponsored Stories program , which offers product comments and recommendations from a user's Facebook friends. Facebook contends that these stories increase customer engagement significantly over standard advertising.

Social connectedness should receive significant corporate attention. Besides improving its monitoring and response strategies, your corporation should set up a way to connect regularly with its employees, suppliers, customers and other critical stakeholders. By connecting early, it will be able to establish the initial tone and perspective when an issue arises and not be forced to play catch-up.

Connect early, connect often and connect effectively. Leverage social connectedness to polish and protect your corporate reputation and to enhance future success.

Latest Opinions

  • When it comes to Apple products, how thin is too thin?

    One of the characters in Neal Stephenson's novel Snow Crash uses knives with edges a single atom thick, so sharp they can cut through anything. I think about those knives every time Apple announced a newer, thinner MacBook or iPad or iPhone.

    Jason Snell
  • Yahoo: One Giant Step—Sideways?

    Authentication is the biggest issue that enterprises have to face in a connected world because all systems have flaws.

    Balaji Narasimhan
  • Weird science: The Apple Watch may already be killing you!

    You should see the Macalope's biceps right now. He's totally ripped from all the tables he had to flip because of this piece in the New York Times by Nick Bilton.

    The Macalope
  • Apple's next big thing might not be the stuff of rumors

    Apple and rumors go hand in hand. Back when I first started writing about Apple, I worked for a website called Spymac that purported to have "top secret" information about the next big things. (We didn't.) Think Secret ended up getting sued after leaking details of the original Mac mini and iWork. 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman publishes remarkably accurate reports that light up the Internet. And Crazy Apple Rumors still mocks us all.

    Michael Simon
  • Why Customer Satisfaction is Your Most Important Project Metric

    I was recently hired by a CIO who had a problem with the organisation sidestepping the IT team to deliver key projects. The business "was going around us for their project delivery," the CIO told me.

    Colin Ellis
EDITOR'S PICK

Try These 5 Undiscovered Google Drive Tricks

Google Drive and its attendant apps offer a wealth of tools to help you be more productive. Try these five for the biggest boost.

What Does the Collaborative Economy Mean for Information Security?

Most employers allow their staff reasonable use of office products such as telephones, copy machines, coffee and the like. For the most part, employees won't be using the copy machines to compete with Kinko's or a company car to compete with black car limousine services. Well, at least not until now.

Tech Chat

Collaborating To Outcome Based World: Priyadarshi Mohapatra, Avaya

Priyadarshi Mohapatra, Managing Director, India and SAARC, Avaya, on how IT is transitioning from a keep-the-lights-on role to one that enables customers to deliver results.

The Dawn of the Digital Age: Akhilesh Tuteja, KPMG

The development of digital infrastructure will be a key growth driver for technology and solution providers. 

Paradigm Shift from End-Users to User-First : Parag Arora,Citrix

Parag Arora, Area Vice President and India Head, India Sub-continent, Citrix, says new technologies will force organizations to take a user-first approach in 2015.

Mobile and Cloud Are Gamechangers of the Future: Karan Bajwa, Microsoft

Karan Bajwa, Managing Director, Microsoft India, says, in  2015, organizations will adopt a mobile-first and cloud-first strategy to get ahead of competition.

A Network for the Internet of Everything : Dinesh Malkani,Cisco

Dinesh Malkani, President, India and SAARC, Cisco, talks about IoT and the significant technology transitions in the networking world.

Moving to the Third Platform: Jaideep Mehta, IDC

Cloud and mobility are the two technologies that will fuel the rapid adoption of the third platform in India.

Envisaging a Holistic Security Strategy For 2015: Sanjay Rohatgi,Symantec

Sanjay Rohatgi, President–Sales, Symantec India, says the company has a set of holistic solutions in place to secure organizations from security threats. 

Beating the Bad Guys: Sivarama Krishnan, PwC

Organizations will need to turn inwards to establish robust information security strategies.

Building Capabilities for a Digital Tomorrow: Alok Ohrie,Dell

Alok Ohrie, President and Managing Director, Dell India, on the company’s investments to build end-to-end solutions and delivery capabilities for a digital world.

SLIDESHOWS

CEO Comebacks: For Better or for Worse?

We bring to you six global CEOs who made the idea work, or not.

Datacenters in the Weirdest Places

A peek into some of the most unusual datacenter locations in the world. Here are 13 datacenters that are built in unusual locations like mines, ships, trucks and even a nuclear collidor. Taking about common wisdom, eh?

12 LinkedIn Mistakes IT Pros Make

LinkedIn is the go-to place for IT pros to market themselves, connect with co-workers, find former colleagues, and meet-up with like-minded folks. Take a few minutes now to make sure your profile showcases your accomplishments, and skills. Here are some common mistakes to avoid.

ChannelWorld Survey: State of the Market 2014

Partners poll their sentiments, expectations, pain points, and challenges for the coming year.

6 Leaders Who Headed for an Abrupt Exit

The abrupt exit of top leaders of Indian and global tech companies this year, with many of them citing ambiguous reasons, surprised the technology world.

FAST TRACK

Kamtron Systems

Transitioning towards a service-oriented company will boost our growth, believes Kavita Singhal, director, Kamtron Systems.

TIM Infratech

Delivering ‘best of breed’ technologies to enterprises is key to success, says Monish Chhabria, MD, TIM Infratech

Mudra Electronics

A vendor-agnostic strategy helped us sustain business, says Bharat Shetty, CMD, Mudra Electronics.

Systematix Technologies

Our USP is a customer-friendly approach backed by services, says Akhilesh Khandelwal, Director, Systematix Technologies.

CorporateServe Solutions

Our ability to turnaround complex ERP projects in record time is what gets us customer referral, says Vinay Vohra, Founder & CEO, CorporateServe Solutions.

KernelSphere Technologies

We are emerging as an end-to-end systems integrator, says Vinod Kumar, MD, KernelSphere Technologies.

Uniware Systems

We constantly validate emerging technologies for first-mover advantage, says Vergis K.R., CEO, Uniware Systems.

Astek Networking & Solutions

An innovative approach helps us stay successful, says Ashish Agarwal, CEO, Astek Networking & Solutions.

CSM Technologies

Our approach is backed by innovation and simplicity, says Priyadarshi Nanu Pany, CEO, CSM Technologies.

EMC PARTNER SHOWCASE

Partnering for Profitability

Atul H. Gosar, Director, Network Techlab, shares how the company’s association with EMC has provided it with a competitive edge and a wide customer base, leading to increased profitability.

Sponsored Content

Promising Pipeline

Venkat Murthy, Prime Mover, 22by7 Solutions, shares how EMC brings in competitive edge by enabling technology, GTM and lead generation, helping 22by7 acquire new customers and retain old ones.

Sponsored Content

Powerful Performance

Deepak Jadhav, Director, VDA Infosolutions, says initiatives by EMC around training and certification have helped the company’s staff improve its performance and enhance customer experience.

Sponsored Content

Performance Booster

Rajiv Kumar, CEO, Proactive Data Systems, says that the solution provider’s association with EMC has helped expand its customer base and added value to existing offerings.

Sponsored Content

Pursuit of Profitability

Santosh Agrawal, CEO, Esconet Technologies, shares insights on how the systems integrator’s association with EMC has spelled sustained success over the years.

Sponsored Content

Non-Performance is Not an Option

Nitin Aggarwal, Director, Trifin Technologies, shares insights on how the association with EMC has helped the system integrator stand out and empowered its personnel to deliver consistent performance.

Sponsored Content

SOCIAL MEDIA @ CW India
SIGNUP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

Signup for our newsletter and get regular updates.