Digital Media affect different levels of society. Not only do they provide people with new ways of interacting with each other, but these new tools also require people to adapt to them. In this respect, I wanted to better understand how digital media push corporations to reassess their communication practices, most especially towards the use of Social Media. However no matter how efficient these new approaches may prove to be, they are far from being systematically adopted. Two main reasons came out:
First of all, most of the companies seem to be very reluctant to use these new tools. Many communication agencies have a very hard time to convince their clients to build communication strategies based on new media. They focus on the threat for their reputation and fear to lose the control over their reputation.
Secondly, most of the corporations do not address the new media challenge in a positive perspective. They consider Social Media as platforms to answer to attacks. For instance, Toyota uses its Twitter page to answer question about the recall they had to organize (http://twitter.com/TOYOTA)
For Communication and Media professionals the challenge is to convince corporations to adopt a proactive attitude to make the most of this new communication tool. Social Media should be considered as a business opportunity: a tool to make the reputation stronger.
Although there are very few companies who have adopted this proactive approach, we can still think of some principles common to successful strategies:
- The more coherent the strategy is with the business of the company the more successful it will be.
- The input of the company is the skills that it is able to bring to a cause which therefore will empower its messages with credibility.
- Social Media should not be considered as a goal in itself but as a go between enabling companies to solve social issues by working hand in hand with group of people.
Regarding the Danone.communities example, at first they met great success on Facebook by organizing a contest encouraging people to submit ideas for how capitalism can be ecological, socially transformative, and profitable etc. But this was not a sustainable success : Danone.communities failed in providing a follow-up of the ideas. People’s expectations were deceived and their enthusiasm turned off.
Social Media are design to create action.
What people love about it is that they are enabled to contribute, they feel involved. Companies should seize this opportunity to mobilize people around them by making people participate.