Companies that don’t take Social Media into account have a problem

internetworldstory-080417-sky [Interview in InternetWorld.se April 17, 2008, published in Swedish. English translation by Sin Trenton and Hans Kullin.]

Neville Hobson defines Web 2.0 as a democratization of the internet. It is about interacting and sharing information on the net. And businesses need to pay attention to this, or they are in trouble.

Talking about how many people you reach in the market doesn’t work in Web 2.0. It’s about how many you talk to, says Neville Hobson, who’s been called a guru when it comes to social media and who helps companies to use effective communication in their marketing.

He thinks that companies who do not take social media into account and are able to interact with their customers have a problem. But there is much to gain for a small cost.

It influences everything companies do: behaviour, attitude, mindset, attention – everything. Those who don’t see social media as a marketing channel have made a mistake. The money you spend on banners should be spent on engagement.

He thinks that businesses should recruit more people who understand social media. They would work with creating engagement and reach smaller groups in niche markets.

It’s about building strong relations, but with fewer people.

Does this mean the end of traditional marketing? No, says Neville Hobson; social media should be added to the marketing mix. For instance, a blog should be more the rule than an exception in a company. He refers to several, eg, General Motors, an early adopter where the vice chairman has been blogging since 2005; and American Airlines, that comment their own flights, letting passengers voice their opinions.

You must do things with a long-term perspective and not just think about turnovers. Something that is foreign to companies in the hunt for results.

It’s a fact that 1.3 million blog posts are being written and 100 000 new blogs are started every day.

Neville Hobson also talks a lot about micro blogging at web services like Twitter and Jaiku. He is himself a dedicated Twitter user and thinks that the services have somewhat different functions. Jaiku is more about conversations with a possibility to comment, while Twitter is fast messages about what is happening right now.

One of the companies he is working with is about to roll out a Twitter venture as a marketing campaign. He means it is inescapable that something like Twitter is also used for commercial purposes.

These are nowadays legitimate channels to work with, but you don’t know if they are still around tomorrow.

That is the insecurity about social media – if the users exist, they live, but without them, there is nothing.

Neville Hobson is visiting Stockholm and was a keynote speaker at the conference “Disruptive Media” this Wednesday.

Neville Hobson Is: communicator, blogger, podcaster.
From: Wokingham, Berkshire outside London, Great Britain.

Facts:

Neville Hobson on…

Facebook:
I’m divided. I don’t think Facebook is that useful any longer, because it is too many people to entertain (about 400 friends). I know a dozen people who have already deleted their accounts.

Favourite services online:
Twitter – micro blog
Twhirl – Third part application for posting updates to several micro blogs at the same time.
FriendFeed – aggregator of what friends are doing in social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Qik – Application for sending live web-TV from the mobile

Mobile:
It’s another tool that liberates you, since you can carry it around. The platform and the technology for mobile internet is already here, but we need to find new business models for surfing on it. Right now, it is far too expensive.

The future:
To bring yourself as a “coin” with all its characteristics (properties?) to where you are on internet.

What he is looking forward to on the net?
The day all firewalls are closed down.

Is Second Life dead (Neville Hobson is active in Second Life)?
No, but it has changed and the glamour has faded. Many of those who were there in 2006-2007 has left and their expectations didn’t match. But many are still left to experiment with how 3D worlds may look in the future.

What are you doing in Second Life?
I look at what different companies do there and go to planned events like seminars and concerts.