How Social Media’s Causing The End Of Business As Usual

The rise of social media has propelled the “End of Business As Usual,” as suggested by the title of Brian Solis’ new book. And what that means is that retailers are no longer in control of the sales process. The social, or “connected,” consumer is. That’s the person, with a giant social following, who can derail a brand’s reputation with a single critical tweet or Facebook post.

Solis, in The End of Business As Usual, explains the evolution of social media has led to people not just tweeting to their audiences, but this fabric of today’s social network includes “audiences of audiences of audiences.”

This is nothing short of disruptive. And it extends to the actual buying experience, down to the very minute before a point of purchase in a brick and mortar store. Smartphone-wielding consumers have product information and peer reviews at their fingertips as they stroll through isles of a store. This access can make or break a buying decision.

Solis outlines how some retailers, like Target and Best Buy, have been forward-thinking and have created mobile apps that actually help customers navigate stores, look up prices and find special offers and promotions.

Best Buy has taken it a step further by providing customer reviews for a peer-to-peer perspective.

For businesses struggling to figure out how to develop a social media strategy, Solis says businesses must be able to answer these nine questions.

1. Why would a connected consumer “Like” us on Facebook, “Follow” us on Twitter?
2. How can we deliver value for them?
3. What is the experience they will take away?
4. What is it we want them to share?
5. Why would they want to stay connected over time?
6. Why would they choose to engage our updates in their social stream over those of their real friends?
7. What incentive do they have to tell everyone they know to follow us?
8. Why would they invest their time and express loyalty in their networks?
9. Why should they come back

This is part of a series of blog post running until the end of the year on business books in 2011 that can enhance the way you do presentations, improve the way you tell stories, engage with your audience, or market your business through social media or other channels.

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