At the imedia summit this week in Brighton, speakers from brands like: Asos, Dell, Lego, Love Film and Unilever and agency folk, generally agreed that as social media is now main stream, it should be referred no longer be referred to as social media - just 'what we do'.
Wherever you stand on what social media should be called, most would agree that few other channels present opportunities for engagement as well.
Not only that, but Social Media is saving brands big money. Severalspeakers said that they have made cost savings on product development, by directly engaging with customers via their social networks and asking them to be 'super users' who actively in-put into R&D.
Perhaps the most well known advocate of this is Lego who went so far as signing NDAs with super users, some of whom flew at their own expense to the Lego HQ in Denmark to take part in workshops, the results of which were then fed back into new Lego Mindstorms products.
According to the Harvard Business Review, P&G now attributes 50% savings in R&D to discovery and innovation made outside the company - ie talking to consumers.
Webjam's social networking provides the ideal platform for companies to develop such strategies as it enables them to create fully brandable social network environments that allow customers to engage directly. Customers can create their own profiles and groups, and can be rewarded for participation by the brand.
For example, Lonely Planet, in addition to posting popular bloggers entries onto its site, is now including (with permission and having paid) contributions into its printed products. The circle is being competed ...