24/7 Digital Nation

Do you Twitter? Are your friends on Facebook? Do you connect with LinkedIn? Are you regularly on YouTube, flickr, digg, Scribd, delicious and other sites in the new media space? More importantly, do you or does anyone in your organization have the bandwidth to become fully engaged in a large number of new social channels?

On a corporate level, the answer needs to be "yes" to all of the above. Like it or not, many of your competitors are already surfing the tsunami of the social-media boom.

Meijer, TJ Maxx and Build-a-Bear Workshop are on Twitter. Amazon, Zappos and Staples are on Facebook. Target, Best Buy and Home Depot are on LinkedIn.

Facebook just surpassed the 200-million user mark. Twitter is growing at a staggering 1,282 percent rate. And the buzz factor kicks into a higher gear every day. You can't consume a news medium (print, radio, TV or online) that isn't regularly covering this phenomenon.

The appeal of new media channels is simple. We carry a connection to the digital world wherever we go and we want information first, fast and interactive. The information doesn't have to be long, detailed or comprehensive. A micro-blog of just140 characters will suffice, especially if it contains a link.

Like other major disruptions, this one carries strong upside potential through engagement of customers in an intimate manner. It carries significant downside potential as well. Delaying entry into social media channels risks losing control of your brand to millions of highly motivated shoppers. Unless you control the messaging, your brand could already be hijacked by competitors or flame throwers.

RIS currently has a presence on Twitter at risnewsinsights and on Facebook at RIS News. No doubt about it, there will be more to come.

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