I’m sitting here in 2020 reminiscing over how difficult it was to convince businesses to get a fax machine in the mid 80’s, a mobile phone in the late 80’s, a website and email in the 90’s, and a social networking community in the late 00’s.
My urging was usually met by “ach, what do I need it for?” and then a few years later with “I’m glad I got it, I don’t know how I ever lived without”
Even quoting 2008 reports like Gartner that showed that 60% of the top 1000 US companies would have on line communities around them by the year 2010 (that’s just 13 months away); and research from AT&T who surveyed 2,500 people across 5 European countries to finds that 65% of all respondents claimed that social networking made them more efficient and that 46% said it sparked their creativity.
Even research from RazorFish who looked at the roles of brands in social networks and concluded that 40% of online consumers have made a decision based on an advertisement they saw on social media sites and that 75% welcome brand advertising in these spaces.
I can hear you laughing at this, but let me tell you with the advantage of hindsight that being in 2020 gives me, your wrong.
Social networking is a phenomenon you can’t ignore, just like you now can’t ignore mobile phones, faxes and email addresses – love it or loathe it, it’s here to stay.
Social networks or social media goes way beyond websites, search engine optimisation, shopping carts, blogs and FaceBook; these are just the tip of the iceberg compared with what is starting to be done to drive business on and off line.
Imagine a world where the old rules, models and theories of business, management, marketing, staff and stakeholder engagement and customer interactions are changed forever.
Imagine your own online virtual business staffed 24 hours a day by 3D virtual employees who know enough about your business to be able to engage others in conversations and sales.
Imagine your own online real world dedicated community innovating and driving your business, brand and product forward for you.
Imagine customers taking the initiative and tracking you down to tell you exactly what and how they want from you.
Imagine being able to tap into their collective wisdom to find the answers to questions you’re grappling with, or even better championing you and recommending you to their community.
Imagine an on line world that is independent of you, self sufficient, always on and always ready to do business.
These are some of the realities that business takes for granted in 2020.
In 2008 this phenomenon is just beginning to snowball.
I look back and see I had identified 22 distinct on line strategies and a set of tools that I used then to move businesses into the forefront of social media.
These were tools based on sound strategies and strict ROI principles that have stood the test of time.
For instance I remember a client in 2008 that had the issue of having to induct staff regularly around Australia; the same old information every time, important absolutely, repetitive and expensive definitely.
The solution we came up with was to video record the training once and show it on line on going.
To support this we also set up a wiki to store company information that was readily accessible and started a blog where new and existing staff could discuss and share ideas and hints on working for the company.
We of course included the human touch with the establishment of a buddy / mentoring system for each new inductee.
The induction program has been a great success. We have saved time, money and effort, ensured consistency in our training, opened up an internal community that shares and cares for each other and the company remains cutting edge, all on a modest budget that paid for itself in a few months.
In the next few postcards I want to share with you some of the other 22 strategies and tools I’ve used and explain how they might be used in 2008 to move you and your business forward.
Of course if you can’t wait till then I’d be happy to fill you in before.
I’ll send you another Postcard from the Future soon, but until then take care and remember your future hasn’t been written yet and how it will look and what successes you will have, are entirely up to you.
Your friend in the future.
this is part of Morris’s regular Postcards from the Future series – subscribe for Free at www.MorrisYourEyeOnTheFuture.com