We have a long-standing joke in our office that most of our family and friends don't think we have "real" jobs and just play on the "Internet" all day. I add the quotes, because my dad still uses air quotes when he talks about the Internet. :-)
The reality is, what we do as a social media company continues to evolve. When I started this company 2 1/2 years ago we did more talking than listening. Not because that was the plan, but simply a reality. When you start anyone's online community from scratch, it's a pretty quiet community (especially in the Midwest).
The landscape has changed drastically over the last several years. We now split our time, crafting quality and resourceful content while handling clients’ incoming messages, customer complaints, notes of encouragement and questions. Our role has shifted dramatically from marketing to customer experience and I anticipate this momentum to continue for agencies and businesses.
The old version of marketing where businesses think they have control is dwindling quickly. The businesses that anticipate the change toward customer-focused interaction will be the ones that will gain trust and credibility with their audience. One of the best pieces of advice I was given when starting this business still holds true today: The easiest sales question you can ask is "How can I help?" Focus on solving the problem and offer a solution. Be human, be authentic and use social sites as a tool, not a solution. After all, the "Internet" seems to be a pretty cool thing these days.
What do you think? Are you seeing the same changes in your industry?