When I think of Social Media and companies that are incorporating a strategy around it, I think of sailing. Now for all you true sailors out there, I will promise you that I will probably get some terminology incorrect, and will do my best to paint an accurate picture, hopefully you all will get the picture.
I think of the boat as being your business; the Captain, as just that, your leader; his crew are the Exec’s, Board members and other that can directly influence the course; the sails that you sail under as the decisions that you make; the wind behind you as your employees, or your customers, basically anyone that interacts with your company, or helps it move forward.
The wind will always be there, whether it is strong or whether it slows down, it will always be there. The Captain is always there to make sure that you are heading in the right direction, and grabbing as much wind as possible. Most boats sail with the same number of sails, which makes the decision making process for the Captain really difficult and timely, as the winds could shift tremendously, and if you are not ready for the shift, you will be dead in the water. If another boat with the same amount of sails cuts across your bow and steals your wind, the race is over for you. The fact of the matter is that he WIND is what keeps you moving, and the Captain has to know when to listen to the Crew, and when to observe the wind and go with his Gut.
The Social Media sail, once drawn, can assist in many decisions that the Captain can make throughout the sail, while also grabbing additional wind in the process. Whether the “wind” is employee productivity and retention, additional sales and revenue, streamlining processes and procedures (efficiency)……the benefits of this sail can and will pay itself off over and over again. While this ROI is different dependant on the implementation it is there and can be measured.
When I hear companies discuss if they can afford to implement Social Media technologies or implement features and functionality within their website that will empower customers and employees to interact and provide feedback to each other as well as directly to the business, I think of this – “Can you afford not to”? Can you find yourself in this photo?