Although social networks influence decision-making
on and offline (for example, who people vote for or what accountant they’ll use) this year e-commerce alone was worth $1.3 trillion with expectations it will continue growing at a staggering 20% per year.
According to a recent Sensis
Social Media Report, of the 65% of Australians who use social media, one in five research products using social media – nearly 70% of which convert to a sale.
Yet, as Frost & Sullivan
shows, of the $18.3 billion spent online by Australians, 79% is on overseas sites. (Notwithstanding this social commerce, or shopping by social media, is still sizeable, bringing in $300 million this year.)
While many factors contribute to
this statistic, the gap between consumer expectation and business behavior is telling; only 30% of small businesses and around half of medium-sized businesses currently having a social media presence.
Of those that do, many
whack up a Facebook page or start a Twitter feed because they believe they ‘should’ instead of asking the deeper, age-old questions about who they are as a business, why they are there and what their customers want. In other words, having a strategy. .
A disconnect is that many
leaders continue to think about social media as a channel, specifically for communications or sales.
But there’s increasing evidence that
this is not enough and that it’s the companies that ‘get’ digital as a ‘way of being’ rather than a ‘handball-tomarketing’ which outperform their peers.
A recent two-year joint study
by Capgemini and MIT Sloan of almost 400 firms found that businesses who are more digitally mature, or ‘digirati’ as the report calls them, have a clear digital advantage over their less mature peers.
The report found that digirati
were: • 26% more profitable than their less mature peers; • Generate 9% more revenue through their employees and physical assets; • Generate 12% higher market valuation ratios.
In the past a succession
plan would have ensured social and digital capabilities were identified and emerging leaders trained but the accelerated speed of change means the impact of delay is serious.
Leaders can act to ensure
their business models do not put them at a competitive disadvantage in the future by understanding that social media is not about a ‘like’ on Facebook or a 140-character tweet, but the future of how we do business.