Sometimes when you ask marketing people about the role of social media in a company's marketing communications they will tell you that ”it is just another channel”. This is very dangerous thinking. Just ask Hobby Hall, Pirkka, Kariniemen, or Midhill. Good or bad, what other marketing communication channels could enable such a rapid spread of either good or bad news?

Social media is a structural change in facing the customer

All of a sudden, the customer that in the past would have complained over poor service at home and maybe sent an angry e-mail, now has the courage to shout out on the company's public profile and in the process, involve thousands of others. Power has shifted to the consumer. It is, therefore, not a trend which would slowly be disappearing. Much like other phenomena and business made possible by the digital world, online interaction is here to stay.

If you want to take advantage of social media, you need to be prepared to face both existing and potential customers openly, honestly and respectfully. It is necessary to prepare well, because social media is not just another channel among others.