It wasn’t long ago that my friends and I emailed each other to set up a game of tennis or golf, but not so much anymore. Speedy texting is preferred and we only check email once in a blue moon. Email is actually annoying.
Technologies come and go like trendy clothes and email’s disappearance coincides with the rise of social media.
As social media usage grows, email will go the way of the pony express and home phones. Social media is replacing it in our personal realm and soon in your business life.
Where there’s Crisis, There’s Opportunity
Is it a crisis for some who use email for a good portion of their customer communication, sales, and customer loyalty activity? Perhaps but it’s a golden opportunity for those developing strong social media skills that will enjoy strengthened customer relationships and improved customer satisfaction.
You may have noticed at your own workplace that more communication takes place within apps, not email. Your marketing may still rely heavily on email yet this will change as everyone closes email accounts and uses social media channels and apps. You’ve probably noticed how you can join networks, subscribe, and even purchase products using your Facebook account.
Enterprise social media channels will become much more common.
The Winds of Change are Howling
If your company is progressive and you want to deepen relationships with prospects and customers, social media communications could give you a decided business advantage over competitors. Social media is a more engaging context making communications more personal and richer.
It’s not enough to set up social accounts however. You have to employ them, use them, and leverage their power. It’s hard work, but you have no other choice. Consumers and B2B are switching to social media.
Look at it from customer’s perspective. Socially connected, smartphone-enabled consumers are using their phones and social networks to help them find products, services, and stay in touch with the companies they prefer. Smart business people know this and they’re clamouring to be top of mind to these early adopters who make up 18% of the market. They know the rest will arrive soon.
Drivers of Change: Social Media and Smartphones
People don’t venture far from their smartphones and they enjoy using social media via cellular and Wi-Fi anywhere. Facebook just launched their Messenger App and Twitter offers another popular texting type app. Billions of people will be using them, despite complaints from some users. Smartphones have their own built in texting app as well.
So you can see how email is getting pushed out — it’s old technology and is isolated. Social is dynamic and connected, meaning communication takes place within a larger, more enlivening, engaging context, like threads through fabric.
Connection to Customers
A few small and medium-sized business owners are seeing how this time of change can work well for them. They’re reaching prospects and customers using articles, graphics, video (content marketing).
Customers can respond and interact, which is more powerful than a lonely email message inside their spam-stuffed email inbox.
Big Business: Struggling with Social
Experts believe more business will be conducted via social media and more marketing, advertising, and transactions will take place through it. Right now, it’s a complicated transition for a large scale operation to engage with customers on a personal level.
Skills and Knowledge Transfer: Empower Your Staff
For mid to larger-sized companies, knowledge and skills transfer is vital for sustainable business success. Social media collaboration helps older and younger workers collaborate better, assisting with a two way transmission of knowledge and skill that both benefit from.
With change occurring so quickly today, it’s particularly important for companies to leverage their employee’s knowledge and skills. That’s particularly so for companies that are losing babyboom-aged managers and expect younger workers to step up to replace them. Rather than watching Gen Xers languish without skills, and seeing restless Gen Y workers leave to join enabled, progressive firms, you may be able to hang onto the best of them. email doesn’t create empowerment.
Tools for Strengthening Relationships
The demise of email then only signals bigger changes taking place in how businesses will relate to their customers and be able to serve them.
Social media isn’t about apps and devices, it’s about better relationships. This will create more knowledge of customers, and that data/insight is crucial to sales and customer service.
How business and personal communications are changing is too complex to describe in one article. My point is that you should take social media seriously. Its effects will be more pervasive and powerful than I’m suggesting here.