Updated: Aug 1, 2019
For many small and medium size enterprises (SME) innovation is simply a question of survival. They have to stay ahead of competitors, often with highly specialised products and services. Any innovation project contains large risks that might become existential for an SME, if a new product or service does not meet the expectations of customers and markets. Social Media provides opportunities to innovate successfully.
The large consumer enterprise Beiersdorf showed in 2011 how powerful a combined approach of innovation and social media can be, by performing its most successful product-launch until then, according to Bilgram, Füller, Bartl, Biel, Miertsch (2013).
But what does this mean for a much smaller company? Is social media helpful outside of the world of consumer goods? What is in it for a typical small and medium size enterprise (SME)?
Well, social media platforms as global and digital tools contribute to the phenomena that Friedman (2007) described as the „flat world“. Individuals, as well as small and large organisations act more or less on the same playing field and can collaborate or compete with each other.
Furthermore, social media and search engine giants like Facebook and Google have billions of users. They already might know more about your clients and its employees than you, regardless wether you run a consumer goods or any other type of business.
Therefore it seems to be rather a question of expertise in social media and innovation, than of organisational type and size, wether a single entrepreneur or SME uses the opportunities of innovation with social media. For example, the website Trendsmap provides an overview about recent trends on Twitter regarding keywords, hashtags and users for locations and regions for the present and the recent past.
Of course, the social media platforms and the world wide web in particular keep growing and contain already a vast amount of data and information. For not getting lost, it is essential to think about the goals, the scope and the way you want to combine your innovation activities with social media.
You might start with these steps:
Identify the social media platforms your current and hopefully future customer groups are using. You should try to anticipate possible future customer segments from the vision and the strategic goals of your business. Join these social media platforms and start to connect with the relevant people. According to my experiences, building the networks takes a lot of time and effort.
Collect data and information from the feedbacks your customers provide regarding your products and services. Of course, you should use these feedbacks as input for your continuous improvement efforts. Furthermore, you can analyse these feedbacks to identify the relevant topics of your current and future customers. The insights from your analysis can trigger innovation activities in those fields, that are in line with your business vision and strategy.
Of course, you should use your social media connection to current and future customers to verify crucial assumptions in innovation projects. It can provide you valuable feedback from potential customers during different stages of product and service development.
Needless to say, that the market launch of your innovation can benefit from social media marketing.
In general, for these activities no sophisticated tools are needed. Once again, social media activities can be very time consuming. Therefore it could make sense to improve efficiency by investing in selected tools.
Get in touch with me today to discuss your needs and desires and find out how I can help you and your organization to reach growth, profit and success through technology innovation. Schedule Your FREE Discovery Call Now:
Bilgram, V., Füller, J., Bart, M., Biel, S., Miertsch, H. (2013). Eine Allianz gegen Flecken. Harvard Business Manager, März 2013, 62-68.
Friedman, T. L. (2007). The world is flat 3.0: A brief history of the Twenty-First Century. New York: Picador.
Trendsmap (2017, November 18). Real-time Twitter Trending Hashtags and Topics - Trendsmap [Website]. Retrieved from https://www.trendsmap.com