Cause and effect, problem and solution, investment and return; a concept can only be established if these things are possible otherwise they are merely considered phenomenon. While it’s not unusual to hear social media being considered a phenomenon, it’s clear that it has evolved into something more than a passing observable event.
The early days of e-mail saw it coined a phenomenon as well, although fairly quickly corporates saw it as an opportunity to improve internal communications; however it was not without its own fair share of ‘flat-earthers.’ Early adopters of e-mail realised soon that its purpose was to enrich their business rather than profit directly off of it; yet there were those that saw the potential for it as a marketing tool.
Peculiarly, the same attitude toward social media has not been widely adopted within companies, many of who seek social media to be less a tool of communication and more a direct return on investment.
E-mail is not only the primary source of internal communication in companies today but has spread so much that it is commonplace to have an address for companies and private users alike (many list their e-mail address comfortably beside their phone number; interestingly phones were also considered to be limited in its infancy).
Is the pattern becoming clearer?
Social media is so readily available, that its evolution is seemingly destined to happen backwards; with private users first adopting it before companies do rather than vice versa.
However the results will prove, in time, to be the same. If e-mail was revolutionary to companies because of its significance to internal communication between colleagues, then it’s quite disturbing to see that most still resist jumping on board with the potential social media offers to direct, external communication with their customers; either because of ignorance or failing to comprehend it as being more than a phenomenon.
Just like the telephone and e-mail before it, social media is no longer a mere phenomenon but a fully-fledged concept; your true ‘return on investment’ is the ability to provide direct and clear communication with those that make your company a company, your customers.