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Managing Your Online Communications

April 12, 2010

One of our clients told us three years ago that they had not previously made a serious investment in their online presence because the revenues from it had been “only a few percent” of their total. That percent now stands at 4%. It represents a £1.3bn business and is growing 20% per annum.

We did a calculation for another client in 2008: by 2013, we told them, their online revenues - which had been 5% of their total five years prior - would exceed their traditional revenues. Yes – more online than offline.

The millions of people who use the internet each day represent powerful and fast-growing markets. While still insignificant for some companies, the next five years will see online activity make a significant contribution to revenues for many of the largest firms. The internet is also providing ways to slash costs too – from recruitment costs to brochure printing and media advertising.

But the online world poses threats. There is an element of it being uncontrollable and unproven. It requires a different approach – Firms need to react and respond in a way to which they are not geared. There is an immediacy and a risk of knee-jerk reactions. Information is harder to control, copyright harder to protect. And customers now complain out loud online and expect to be heard and recognized online.

We recommend that every firm thinking about its “online communications strategy” collects key online resources together in one place at the head office, and establish an “Online Control Centre” or “Social Media Hub”. From here, the company can get to grips with its online presence: monitoring, participating, tracking, adapting and building business.

We called this place the “TwitterRoom” in March 2010 and the name stuck, though it is about much more than Twitter. Twitter has become the language of social media. The Tweet is the currency of commentary online. Facebook and LinkedIn, the photo sites, YouTube and the video sites, most bookmarking sites like Digg and Delicious, almost every blog, the new emerging location-based review and check-in mobile apps, all now communicate with each other using Tweets. When a blog post is made, a Tweet is automatically generated. When a video is uploaded – a Tweet. When a recommendation is shared – it’s using Tweets.

This document contains recent thinking and ideas from Open-First on how we can help you manage your online communications online culture and values and even the online business itself.

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