Does Social Media Fail Businesses?
Social media is a catalyzing innovation almost as kinetic and broad as the internet itself. It has the power to morph and consolidate collective sentiments on a scale unfathomable only a few years back.
Here’s an example: I was on an airplane during the now-notorious (at least from a Democrat’s perspective), first Presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. It was a short flight, so I didn’t feel the need to overpay for internet access. This was a welcome development; other than old pictures of my kids, there was nothing on my phone to divert attention from the debate screened a few inches from my nose.
When the duel was over, I thought to myself, “Okay that was a fair fight, pretty even, no big deal.” Yet, when I landed, I opened Twitter and saw, over and over and over again, that Romney had apparently kicked Obama’s rhetorical ass. And that for those of the liberal persuasion this was the worst thing to happen since Clarence Thomas was born.
And you know what? The Twittersphere did manage to rewrite my history of something I watched with my own eyes. I don’t have the chutzpah to debate it; arguing that the first debate wasn’t horrible for the President is like saying Dippin’ Dots really will become the ice cream of the future — in other words, just plain wrong (and distasteful).
Just like it’s impossible to argue that social media can’t change the perception of certain events, it’s also clear that certain people have used the mediums to re-appropriate their images. Even though Mike Tyson bit off another man’s ear in real life 20 years ago, I like him now, because he’s hilarious and humble on Twitter. George Takei will likely end up best remembered for his fleeting Facebook posts instead of his dutiful work as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu in Captain Kirk’s posse on Star Trek for several decades.
Nevertheless, “social media,” in its current form, is clearly suboptimal for businesses looking to promote their products. When I think about businesses with great social media presence, a usual suspect like JetBlue comes to mind. Yet, that notion doesn’t make me want to fly JetBlue any more than I already do. It doesn’t really tell me much about the company’s flying experience. All it says to me is that JetBlue has done a good job hiring young people who understand Twitter. Basically, unless you write something incredibly asinine or get attacked by the Church of Scientology, your social media presence is only going to graze the bottom line of your business.
This is because there seems to be a hole in the landscape (mixed metaphor) when it comes to businesses capturing moments and sharing them with their communities. Companies use social media to listen, and they use it very effectively. There are all sorts of great management tools that help business respond and react to what people are saying.
People can take advantage of social media to quickly share moments and get immediate responses, but business don’t have the same luxury because the mediums are all so fragmented and specialized. What small businesses really need is a hybrid of all these platforms so they can create and share small bytes of news that still manage to give a 360-degree view of the business.
For example, you own a popular bakery on Main Street and, for years, your customers have been asking for red velvet cupcakes. And, for years, you’ve told them the same thing: When I find a food dye that I am convinced is safe, we’ll have our cupcakes and eat them too. Suddenly that day comes, thanks to a great tip from a friend who doubles as an importer-exporter from a planet without cancer.
So what’s the best way to blast out this sweet news online? Twitter? Good luck. People who follow businesses tend to follow a lot of others folks, too —so there’s a great chance of your small message getting buried under a steady stream of crap. Update your website? That takes too long and costs too much. Good luck getting a new design or a worthy page on your site for less than $1000 in opportunity costs. Instagram is great, but it’s somewhat niche, and a photo can’t really tell the entire story of a new business event. Additionally, None of these tools provides proper tracking of who, exactly, is interacting with the brand and how.
This is where Crushpath comes in. Businesses want to connect with their customers on the move, sending out announcements, alerts and discounts to segmented audiences all day long, all from their mobile devices. How do businesses do that now? They don’t.
In this sense, social media has failed small businesses — the channels are too fragmented. Pictures go on Instagram. Links get laid down on Twitter. Items to discuss get posted on Facebook. High-level news gets published on LinkedIn. Only email happens on email.
Crushpath believes deeply in the idea of helping the community market on the move in an integrated way. That can be accomplished by letting businesses create extremely fast pitches — small one-page items capturing the moment with a high level of aesthetic presentation that lets small businesses talk directly to their customers and own social channels like never before. Imagine a platform that allows the baker to announce the red velvet cupcakes from her phone, and blast out the news via the content type of her choice on SMS, email and Facebook – all with the click of a single button. There is finally a shape online that is built, from the ground up, to deliver small business messages directly to customers.