Social Media Academy is an online learning experience for an online world, and I was fortunate to have recently completed their leadership training for social media consultants — where many of the classes were conducted by one of my first mentors SMACAD CEO Axel Schultze.
SMACAD sponsors a LinkedIn group, and member Morris Pentel asked:
Here was Morris’s answer to his own question:
“Customer Partnerships rather than Customer Management will become the new way to deal with customers moving forward as we start to recognize the power that customers have.”
Axel responded with a not-quite-so-optimistic answer, which he has allowed me to use as a Guest Post.
As a customer experience fanatic, I understand Social Media to be the single most powerful mechanism to improve customer experience. But social media is not something you “install” and then have it.
Unfortunately, I see the “social divide” widening in two years.
Social Graph Factor
It takes approximately six months to establish a decent social graph. Within those six months many people will give up, make mistakes, and start all over in another six months. In other words, somebody who starts in the social web today can be savvy and have a valuable social graph by end of the year.
The democratization of knowledge is another current dilemma. The established experts make way to whoever communicates fastest, loudest and with the largest number of followers (not twitter followers, but followers of their direction).
The challenge is to identify the most successful way for an organization to create a sustainable success model.
Role Model Factor
In the past, if a company installed CRM, SAP, Local Area Networks, the company or their vendor heavily advertised that fact.
Not so in Social Media. Social Media is a powerful competitive advantage and those who figured it out won’t advertise it. The majority of leadership teams are followers — following the market leader.
But if the market leaders do not promote what they do, the followers will fall back more than ever before.
The vast majority of business education still teaches traditional techniques. Many of the instructors are business consultants who were pretty successful 10+ years ago and are now teaching their success model to others.
There are only a microscopically small number of business-relevant social media training institutes or consultants with both — sound business experience AND a profound social media background. Look at the major sales training institutes: You won’t find them in the social web; some even require their trainers to NOT use social media at all.
As such – the “social divide” will widen and the distance between market leaders and followers will get bigger in the next two years. In most industries the market leaders are heavily engaged in the social web while their B-Class competitors are still busy wondering if “the economy is coming back.”
Which side of the Digital Divide do you want to be on, and what will you be doing about it?
Social Media Academy’s next Leadership Class begins June 9.