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"Getting the best out of the social media" by Dr. Jim Hamill: Glasgow meeting of 9 February 2016

Dr. Jim Hamill at the Glasgow meeting.d

Dr. Jim Hamill at the Glasgow meeting.

© John Yellowlees, 2016

The social media have revolutionised how we relate to each other, and reputations are at risk if real-time service-providers do not heed what is being said about them on Facebook and Twitter.

Dr Jim Hamill trained up the ScotRail social media team, and in this presentation he told us how our profession might make best use of these new means of communication to retain and enhance customer confidence.

The digital revolution is the end of business as usual. In a world of constantly connected customers, employees and things the rules of the game have changed. Digital darwinism will breed digital dinosaurs: our attention span is now shorter than that of a goldfish, yet four out of five companies don't respond to customer complaints on social channels - but in an era when people own more mobiles than toothbrushes it is two-way conversation that drives customer loyalty.

Trip Adviser is the new marketing, with only 14% trusting advertising but 93% putting faith in peer reviews. If you don't engage, you're not there any more. Digital natives don't watch the news because they know it already, and they will form 70% of the workforce in the next decade. A magazine is an IPad that does not work, and in the convergence of disruptive technologies we have to unlearn everything that we knew about marketing.

By 2020 50-70 billion devices will be connected in an internet of things. Trains will predict when they are going to break down. People will know when they are going to be ill. Over 40% of jobs could be replaced by digital technology over the next two decades. Universities could go the way of newspapers. The world's biggest taxi provider Uber owns no taxis, while Airbnb has no accommodation, Skype no phone infrastructure, Netflix no cinemas. An entire hotel can be run by robots!

Shut up and listen is the first lesson, and organisations must conduct a digital landscape analysis, auditing existing progress and developing a digital transformation strategy with an action plan. Elevated through great content, businesses can sell without selling by building a quality online network. Great content drives conversation which drives engagement which drives sales.

The last thing you want to do is just launch a new network, for that makes things worse. The technology is the easy part. What we're talking about is a fundamental change in mindset.

Report and photograph by John Yellowlees.


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