How big is the opportunity?

Last, but by no means least, we asked delegates what they perceive to be the biggest opportunity in social media?

The biggest opportunity for the delegates that day was how social media offers a direct channel to the customer, enabling real time engagement and ‘true’ two-way conversation.  Listening to what followers are saying about a brand or industry, responding accordingly and embracing the feedback, will create important dialogue with employees, customers and other key stakeholders.

Social media usage is extending to customer service departments; “increasing the quality of service provided by companies engaging in social media”.  All this builds brands and increases brand currency; again highlighting the importance of a company-wide integrated approach.

To make social media work for an organisation, it needs to be relevant to the organisation.  Is it a space where the target audience is happy communicating in? Some responses from public sector delegates were specific to scenarios that play out every day for them, for example, a home counties constabulary’s “opportunity to engage on local issues with their local policing team”, or a housing association using social media to monitor important issues and free up staff time to communicate quickly with tenants.

Clearly the speed and directness of engagement via social media is a risk and opportunity.  Which side it falls is dependent on how an organisation views the importance of social media and therefore invests in its management, ensuring that those responsible have the resources, tools and knowledge to both plan and respond effectively.

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