The story

Soc Biz Africa

Social Business Africa – How corporates are using Social Media to harvest awesomeness

Dion Hinchcliffe is the Chief Strategy Officer at Dachis Group and as the first speaker at this year’s Social Business Africa conference. The topic of his talk is ‘How leading Corporations and Brands are Adapting to the Social Era of Business” which is just a fancy way fo saying that companies are starting to wise up to the fact that consumers are talking about them on social media and they need to be involved in the conversation to affect the perception.

The average lifespan of an S&P 500 company has decreased from 75 to 15 years since 1940. Companies now have less time to succeed and are judged more harshly than ever for mistakes. Toyota who once had the highest reputation of any automobile manufacturer suffered irreparable damage to their brand perception in 2010 when they failed to include social media channels in its response to a fault in a vehicle.

Hinchcliffe brings the idea of the internet being a frictionless and free environment for engagement to happen in. Both companies and consumers are already on social media platforms (well companies should be) and because the platform is something the consumer is comfortable with it sets up the frictionless nature of the conversation.


Dell, who many would not credit with being forward thinkers, have accredited 10 000 of its employees to answer questions on social media effectively making on of the largest social media teams in the world. When a heating problem arose in one of the new notebooks Dell used the engineer in charge of notebook cooling to speak directly to clients to mitigate the problem before it spiralled out of control.

The main take homes from the talk were:

  • Companies can’t engage with every conversation but should engage in the important ones. Deal with problems efficiently, be transparent and help turn complainants into advocates for the brand.
  • Companies that succeed at social media  are the ones who are willing to try and fail but stay committed to using the channels until they can succeed at them.



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