Red Tape Won't Stop Social Media From Changing Your Website (Eventually)

IStock_000003974958XSmallOn Jeremiah Owyang’s Facebook group dedicated to Web Strategy, a forum sprang up to discuss how Social Media will impact the design of traditional corporate websites.  A great thread is being created; already there’s a recurring theme re: resistance among big corporations to embrace this New Age stuff.

From an exec at Coca Cola:

“In my experience we can raise the interest enough to make a few changes but it is difficult to get the buy-in that is necessary to change the internal structures and culture enough to continue with these changes.”

From an exec from BofA:

“(C)hanging the corporate ethos in established major institutions is something I certainly find to be a more challenging nut to crack.”

Here’s what I had to say (this is a cross-post from Jeremiah’s group):

The “red tape conundrum” is a real one when it comes to incorporating Social Media into official web presence.  It’s a scary prospect to proactively engage with end-users, from both a reputation & legal standpoint, and particularly for firms in regulated industries such as Pharma and Financial Services.

The kicker is that “the conversation” is happening already: around you, and without you.  To ignore an opportunity to create a convenient spot for users to collaborate & discuss the brand is going to be akin to a criminal offense among tomorrow’s web strategists.

Consider that external blog posts about major brands (like BofA and Coca-Cola) are increasingly found in the top-10 Google results.  While it’s true that that will continue to be the case, it is also true that a company’s officially sanctioned social media presence is likely to become the “aggregator of conversations” about the brand.  This is great, because even the negative chatter will be appropriately and promptly responded to in an official and upfront manner (for all to see), and, the main corporate site will also accrue the majority of the SEO benefits.

More to the point: the train’s already leaving the station, with or without you.  Smart companies will figure out a way to hop on-board.  At this point in the evolution of Social Media, a brand still gets a lot of credit for being proactive.

Posted on: September 18, 2007 at 9:55 am By Todd Defren
3 Responses to “Red Tape Won't Stop Social Media From Changing Your Website (Eventually)”


  • Henre says:

    It seems to me the reluctance to join the conversation is stronger than the realisation that online reputation management and business transparency are real issues to be dealt with.

    They can choose not to participate, but they cannot choose the conversation of consumers not to happen.

    Either join the conversation, or learn from your mistakes through the competition that have.

  • It is refreshing to see brands like Coca Cola and BofA openly engaging in these conversations. Six months ago the discussion would have been about creating a separate social media web presence in order to tick the box, and while this is still the approach for many, it’s good to see that attitudes are evolving. All online assets need to be considered, and the corporate website should be the first port of call.

  • You’ve summarized the key issues here, great job. It’s truly about corporate’s willingness to accept what’s happening.

Show some social media love would ya?

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