Magazine article CRM Magazine

The Digital Client Is Older Than You Think: A Three-Phase Approach to Reaching Social Media Maturity

Magazine article CRM Magazine

The Digital Client Is Older Than You Think: A Three-Phase Approach to Reaching Social Media Maturity

Article excerpt

IN MY RECENT FOCUS on the Digital Client--defined as any individual who utilizes online services--I've received a lot of thoughtful emails from CRM readers. A 57-year-old executive writes: "Social networks are as much for my Baby Boomer generation as they are for any other.... I can't live without them in either my professional [or] private life!" In fact, Hit-wise--an Experian firm that tracks 10 million U.S. Internet users interacting with more than a million Web sites across more than 165 industries--has data suggesting that, of all social network traffic, 18-to-24-year-olds account for only about 30 percent--and dropping. People 55 years old and over now account for more than 10 percent of that social traffic--and that figure's rising.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Digital Clients--of all ages--most often get hooked at home, using social media to learn about topics of interest (e.g., a hobby, a sport, a vacation). Until recently, most were unable to continue their digital lifestyles in the office--not enough of those offices were prepared to offer employees internal social networks or other Web 2.0 social media (e.g., blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, widgets, podcasts).

Here's some good news: A rising number of organizations--public, private, not-for-profit--have completed their Digital Client roadmaps and are in the midst of implementing them. I personally favor a roadmap that offers a long-term continuum in three distinct phases:

PHASE 1: CREATE THE NETWORK

As Baby Boomers begin to retire--taking lots of institutional memory with them--organizations are in grave danger of losing significant strategic and tactical knowledge. The average tenure of a Generation Y employee is only around 18 months, and they're typically hesitant to formally document memory. Efforts relying on a knowledge base--a technological information repository--are falling short because they're unnecessarily complex. Social media can be a great helper for retaining institutional memory: You simply create social networking threads--which most employees are happy to collaborate on, for their own purposes--and you then capture and store relevant knowledge from these threads. …

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