Listen-up brands, social media innovation isn’t a clever campaign or social enterprise

Picture showing the adoption and diffusion of social media innovationSocial media marketing is increasingly ubiquitous for most brands, and if not, it is on the radar. We are on our way to mass adoption among businesses. Early adopter brands are now focused on social business. I am certainly talking to a lot of companies about how they can bring more of the outside world back into the business, restructure and be more connected to customers, employees and stakeholders. It seems that the eventual evolution of social media is as a communications channel inside and out.

But is that the end game for social? Is there more business opportunity?

Social innovation is the true game changer

Social innovation is the next stage in the re-engineering of business. And it is a lucrative revenue stream. I am not talking about the gimmicks and the promotions from Facebook customised cars to special edition consumables sold on platforms. I am talking about a leap into a new product or service. A new generation of innovations that taps into the evolved social media customer; and creates a new business opportunity.

Why? Because social media has changed consumption

Created from this week’s #LeWeb by @natital

Whether you’re in B2B or B2C the connected networked world we live in has changed your customers. Recent Global Web Index data shows that we consume digital 57% of the overall daily media time and social, 48% of online time. Your customers are social today, and the numbers will continue to grow tomorrow. And with this change in the way we connect, expectations and behaviours have altered.

This week at Le Web, the conversation centred on the ‘sharing economy’. A new way of consumption.  The Economist suggests that we are in a collaborative economy and this emerging model is now big and disruptive enough for regulators and companies to have woken up to it.

Who’s seizing the advantage and innovating now?

Bar a few exceptions, it isn’t brands that are seizing the opportunity. It’s the new kids. The start-ups.

According to a Guardian article this week, Etsy were created to meet the demand of the collaborative customer. CEO Chad Dickerson said, “We’re creating a people-powered economy where people are buying and selling from and to other people in their communities.” The company’s gross merchandise sales rose from $525.6m in 2011 to $895.1m in 2012.

Another well-known collaborative, sharing business, Airbnb is generating revenues from 192 countries, 30, 000 cities and capturing bookings from 40,000 customers daily.

Thinking beyond social business now, means you can prepare to innovate. Create structures that help you harness data insight; break out of the silos and develop intrapreneurs. A social business spots the social opportunity and is agile enough to deploy innovation ideas quickly. And ultimately a business looking for social innovation will open new, powerful, revenue streams that will take the brand into the future.

In my post next week, I will uncover the ways in which some established brands have already adopted social innovation and are already reaping the rewards from first mover advantage


Drawing courtesy of #leweb and created  by @natital

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