Instead of talking about the latest shiny new toy (e.g. social media tool/app flavor of the month), I thought it might be interesting to take a random stroll through the news in order to look at the intersection of social media and business.
This article, Why Social Media Matters from CIO magazine, illustrates an interesting case of how the use of corporate social media accounts should be governed by businesses.
“Currently, social media tools like Facebook and Twitter are primarily a PR tool, and are prone to comments and trends. And things that are trending carry more weight in the media than in reality, so companies tend to give them a lot of credence,” Anthony Mittelmark, an enterprise-grade digital expert and director at PwC Australia says.
While social media may help raise a company’s profile, a recent survey of US executives published in Hays Journal found that social media ranked among the top five sources of risk to a business.”
Another article about social media ROI, a favorite topic of mine, written and presented by Brianna Smith, gives a concise overview of measuring both soft metrics and more solid metrics such as the use of Google Analytics e-commerce tracking code. Personally, I’ve always thought that many social media experts tend to overvalue soft metrics, such as “conversations” and “engagement” simply because the real business value of social media, especially for small businesses isn’t always there. As Don Draper said, “If you don’t like what is being said, change the conversation”.
Perhaps the biggest story of late regarding social media use for business purposes is The Securities and Exchange Commission’s release of guidelines for social media usage. The issue centers around the timing of releasing of information to all investors through all channels.
“In December, the regulator warned Netflix that it could take action against the company for a 43-word message that the company’s chief executive, Reed Hastings, posted in his personal Facebook feed. In the note, Mr. Hastings congratulated his team for exceeding one billion hours of video watched in a single month.
“But the federal agency raised concerns that the post violated Regulation Fair Disclosure, commonly known as Reg FD, which requires a company to publish material information to all investors at the same time. While Mr. Hastings’s announcement was made on his publicly available Facebook page, which had over 200,000 followers, the information was not subsequently disclosed in a securities filing or news release.”
The Times article continues:
“After an investigation of several months, regulators said that companies could treat social media as legitimate outlets for communication, much like corporate Web sites or the agency’s own public filing system called Edgar. The catch is that corporations have to make clear which Twitter feeds or Facebook pages will serve as potential outlets for announcements.”
For those that are financial advisors or have an interest in how this impacts those in that industry, this Wall Street Journal’s Voices column provides an interesting perspective. This New York Times Dealbook column discusses this issue from a regulatory perspective.
It is always interesting to see the evolution of social media in the business world. The reach of social media for business has, thankfully, moved far beyond Likes and Retweets.