Microsoft has the opportunity to set the pace for big brands and the use of social media. Is Microsoft late to the game? Yes. Will Microsoft be required to use their own tools? Probably, but that poses more than a few challenges that are not part of this blog post. Can Microsoft set the pace for the right way to implement a social media strategy? I think the answer is yes, but they need to get started … and soon. If Microsoft has already started they need to let people know.
This blog post was originally written as a comment that I posted to Marty Collins blog site and adapted here to add a few more details (and pictures). Marty is Group Marketing Manager for the Microsoft Windows consumer marketing team and has a focus on social media. Marty wrote a cogent and insightful response to what Microsoft is thinking in relation to social media. Which was inspired by a post on Mashable about “Why Big Brands Struggle With Social Media”
My comment with a few edits
Microsoft and big brands have a definite challenge to overcome in the Social Media space. For the most part I recommend just getting started and doing something. Then as necessary make adjustments along the way. It’s kind of like sailing a boat — if you expect to never trim the sails the journey will not likely succeed. Even if the boat does reach the final destination it will be at a very slow and sub-optimal pace – coming in far behind the competition. Right now many big brands seem to exhibit a fear that perhaps someone won’t know how to trim the sails so the boat is kept tied to the dock.
Microsoft has a fairly unique challenge in the Social Media space. Partially because no matter what Microsoft does there will be criticism that Microsoft is either going too far or not far enough. Too far in the sense that there may be a perception that everything must be filtered and funneled thru a PR/AR engine. Not far enough in that everything must be filtered and funneled thru a PR/AR engine. Yes, the statement is the same. This is the dilemma Microsoft often finds itself in.
On the too far side people will complain that they can get the same information from websites and other public facing content. Meaning MS is only putting out “approved” content. On the not far enough side people will complain that they cannot get their specific questions addressed. I think there is a significant issue in relation to the legality of making what amounts to a public statement of fact when Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites are used to convey Microsoft information. In truth, Microsoft does need to be cautious on making public statements because there are legions of lawyers waiting to file the next multi-million dollar class action lawsuit.
How should Microsoft get past this?
How should Microsoft show authenticity while maintaining control of the message and to some extent the intellectual property that may be shared via Social Media technologies?
There are definitely a few ways to get started. First and foremost I think Microsoft (and other big brands) just need to jump in and get started. For example, Google started a new Twitter alias this week and had over 20,000 followers in 24 hours. I’m sure there was a lot of behind the scenes planning to make this happen, but in the end they got the word out and the followers arrived in droves. I would not be too surprised if at least one or two press articles come out — letting everyone know that Google is in the game.
Microsoft could do this too and perhaps on an even grander scale. While I do think there does need to be somewhat of a master plan and in a sense a clearing house for content the most important thing is that employees need to be empowered. Empowered to do the right thing (See what IBM’s Adam Clyde has to say about empowerment), to do their jobs (for which I’m sure they are paid quite handsomely), and to serve the customer and partner community. I think customers, partners, the press & analysts, and even the competition would take note and reward Microsoft for making the effort. I think it would serve as an example for other big brands.
Pick a wave
Just Get Started
Microsoft has a unique set of challenges and Microsoft has a unique opportunity to set the pace for how big brands leverage Social Media technologies. I’d like to see the latter take place. I’d also like to see a few new Microsoft tools and technologies to create a social media experience.
Where do Microsoft and Big Brands go from here?
There are numerous Big Brands making inroads in the social media space today. Using Twitter as a very specific lens for social media inroads just look at what Scott Monty at Ford is doing or at what Frank at Comcast is up to or how Tony the CEO of Zappos is leveraging this aspect of the social media experience. There have been numerous articles already written about their efforts so I will not recap them here. Social media is here to stay and the smart companies are already taking steps to maximize their brands. Will Microsoft follow suit? Will Microsoft take the lead and create new products and technologies?
- Can Microsoft jump on Social Media in time to make a difference?
- Can Microsoft set the pace for big brands in social media?
- Do you see Microsoft as a player in Social Media?
My Public Service Announcement for the week:
Microsoft is hiring. Marty Collins is hiring. She posted a Social Media job on her blog.
Photo Credits: Brian Gable
|About The Author: |
I have spent the better part of the last 16 years working in various aspects of the ECM space. I spent time at Kofax, Microsoft, FileNet, K2, and most recently Captaris (which was acquired by Open Text in Nov 2008). Prior to that I was a Unix VAR running my own company. Follow me on Twitter, check my blog, send email or find me on Facebook or LinkedIn.
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