Businesses have been slow to react to social media. I don’t mean that they have been slow to setup a Facebook page or open a Twitter account. I mean that they have been slow to adopt the practices of social media within their businesses. They have been hesitant to spend the time and the resources to come to grips with the changing nature of technology and its intersection with our social graphs.
But the challenge for business is not just the proliferation of channels and markets facilitated by technology. It’s the speed. These days markets and consumers can emerge and respond in moments. Witness the dramatic rise of group buying sites. Witness the sudden collapse of the Borders bookstores here in Australia. In both of these cases, technology created the conditions and then accelerated and amplified them. The fundamental difference was that only one of these business models was ready for social business.
If you are running a business today and you are not seriously considering the impact that social media will have on it, you’d better not blink. I have a feeling that Gary Vaynerchuck is right – this is the calm before the storm. It’s not time to batten down the hatches, it’s time to break out the oars and get wet.