After The Digital Handshake, What Comes Next?

If you meet a stranger at a coffee shop and buy him a drink, you’ve performed a memorable action.  But if the person is a close friend of yours, a free coffee won’t have the same effect, you’re going to have to help your friend move.

What I’m talking about is the shift in the relationship between companies and consumers as the ideas of social media become more mature in organizations.

Dropping in and saying high to a Twitter comment at a mention of your brand’s name or business area might spark some attention, but what if that customer has been a paying customer for 5 years and everyone knows and expects you to listen to social media mentions? Will a simple interaction with the customer still hold the same weight?

And when brands infiltrate Facebook‘s Fan-pages, and convince users to interact with them in a more controlled environment, as opposed to out in the wild that is Twitter, what implications does that have?

If I invite you to my home as a guest, I can’t just point you to the kitchen and instruct you on how to make dinner… Isn’t it my job to care better care of you and give you a good experience? The idea is that getting you to come to dinner to my house isn’t the end goal. I want you to have a wonderful time, so much so that you don’t want to leave.

Is it too easy for companies to get away with gimmicky actions still? How much goodwill is there to be gained now compared to in 5 years when companies “buy a coffee” for their customers?

To simply put it (maybe I should have started with this); social media has already radically changed the way businesses communicate with consumers, and there’s a lot more change that’s going to happen as well, but what we are just beginning to scratch is how relationships between the businesses and consumers will change over the coming years. These new ideas of relationships are going to be strategic in nature and depend a lot less on specific tools but more so on attitude and culture.


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