Social Business As Usual

Last week, I was sitting in a meeting of executives to discuss social business. Seated next to me was a man who had a lot on his mind – Greg Creed, President of Taco Bell. The discussion in that room was of course proprietary and not a matter for rebroadcast. But what happened afterwards in the public eye is worth reflecting on here.

As you may have heard, Taco Bell had a communications crisis management situation on its hands last week with a lawsuit that gained traditional and social media attention. After hitting the highly viral Gizmodo, the story spread to the online mainstream. Very soon thereafter, Taco Bell had responded on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, and also in national print.

Four years ago, JetBlue Founder and then-CEO David Neeleman went on YouTube in the midst of a communications crisis. People were shocked. Praise was effusive. Case studies followed. Now, an executive goes on YouTube to give a straight answer in the midst of crisis and what happens? Acknowledgement, then the media moves on. Social engagement is now considered business as usual.

Three years ago, Frank Eliason started helping Comcast customers via Twitter and his work has been covered by dozens of mainstream media outlets. Today there are plenty of companies using Twitter for customer service – financial institutions (like Frank’s Citibank), telecom providers, software companies, airlines, auto manufacturers, and others.

You can still buy Facebook ads with a credit card and not go anywhere near your personal monthly credit limit. On a larger scale, household brand names are placing multi-million dollar ad buys and contemplating serious investment in the platform. We’ll likely learn more when IPO documents are filed, but I don’t hear many people asking anymore about contingency plans if Facebook goes under.

We’ve clearly closed the chapter on social media as experimental channels and social technologies as experimental tools. These are now generally accepted ways in which business gets done. A new chapter has started, one in which we should focus on driving value using these now familiar strategies and tactics.

It’s social business as usual.

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1 Comment

  1. I wouldn’t assume that it’s business as usual yet. What Taco Bell was still really brave. The speed with which TB seemingly spotted the issue, made the decision to respond and executed was impressive. It’s that speed which helped squash the issue. I am not sure many organizations could move that fast. The fact that it’s no longer an issue is the goal isn’t it??

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