The Opportunity of Social & Mobile – If Not You Then Who?

Twitter - jasonWSJ

Banal banter or commercial asset? You decide.

I was amused the other day by a line I saw on Twitter from Wall Street Journal columnist, Jason Gay (@jasonWSJ – see image at left):

“If Twitter didn’t exist, you’d have no idea what airlines your friends are currently furious at”

The humour in this pivots on the very real fact that a lot of social media and mobile technology is really quite banal. Like millions of others, I have been guilty of whining on Twitter or SMS or forums about bad experiences with airlines and grocery stores and crowds and restaurants.

Yet, the humour also pivots on the very real fact that Twitter – as with other social and mobile media – is much more than just an outlet for venting. It has literally launched revolutions and saved lives, and demonstrably improved opportunities for thousands of businesses.

So the question is – is your business taking advantage of social media and using mobile technology? If not, why not? And if not you, then who?

Yes, social media can be banal, but these are serious questions. You have to be reasonably certain that your competitors are already using social media, so if you are not using social or mobile technology, then you are out of the game; but if they are not using social and mobile, you have a chance to put them out of the game.

As I wrote recently on a CA Community blog on Consumer-Driven IT:

Leading businesses (including your competitors) are already forging ahead with social, mobile, and cloud computing initiatives, and proactive IT organizations are already gaining significant customer value from them (PDF). They are communicating with customers on their terms, on their websites, on their applications. They are providing iPad applications and SaaS options, and running social media campaigns to improve brand recognition and customer attraction. They are launching online loyalty programs that improve customer retention and drive word of mouth, and increasing their revenue as a result.

Think about it:

  • If I cannot tweet you with a question about your product – or even worse, my tweet never gets answered – but your competitor tweets back with the answer, guess who I will buy from?
  • If I cannot”like” your business or product on Facebook, “+1” you on Google+, or “@” mention you on Twitter, then my modest social network will never hear about you from me.
  • If I cannot get a discount from you on Groupon or a special deal on 4Square, but I can get one from your rival instead, I will probably visit their store, not yours.
  • If I am on the go when I need your service, but your website does not support my smartphone, then I will probably log into your competitor’s mobile site instead.
  • If I cannot buy from you online, then I probably will not buy from you at all.

Sure, social and mobile can be pointless and banal. They can also be revolutionary and world-changing. One thing they are not, is going away. You have a chance to capitalize on them, or let them pass you by.

Which will you choose?

And if not you, then who?