Social media has exploded over the past decade, and it has altered the landscape for enterprise corporations in profound ways. Yet, is your business keeping pace with the changes?

In just a handful of years, the audience on social media has increased to billions of people reaching into the farthest corners of the world; it is estimated that by 2018, approximately a quarter of the Earth’s population will be online utilizing social networks. (source: http://www.statista.com/topics/1164/social-networks/)

People are now connected on a global level, and this communication impacts your company.

However, even with this surge of social engagement, many business leaders have not taken it seriously as an element that can add any real value to the company. And now they are currently behind in the game while they scramble to catch up with their competitors who do “get it”.

More importantly, they have fallen behind with their own customers, who have not only embraced social networks, but use them to connect with others on a daily basis in powerful ways. This includes sharing pieces of their lives, deepening relationships, distributing information that resonates on a broad level, and motivating others to collaborate and take action.

Consequently, if you have not taken an honest look at what social media can offer your business, the shifts will only move your company faster and further away from your market as well as your employees.

The primary jump in exploring the power of social channels usually happens when business executives take a personal interest in them, and acquire more experience using them. But here is the catch: social media does not work similarly to traditional advertising mediums. This is the first failure most enterprise corporations realize. Their strategy starts with using social networks to broadcast marketing messages in a strictly linear way. This leaves the conversation one-sided, which results in low engagement and disappointment.

To succeed with social, businesses will need to mature in their strategy by interlacing social tools and exchanges on a flexible, conversational scale. A healthy equilibrium between global reach and a local touchpoint needs to be established to enable connections that are rich and genuine. It will necessitate quick responsiveness and creative experimentation. The term customer-centricity is no longer just a hollow expression, it is an actual truth that can be tracked in today’s social-mobile world.

What’s the outcome? Used right, social media is paying off for those early adapters whose trials and errors with social have driven business improvements across their organizations. That means they have been able to polish their marketing messages by listening to their consumers’ needs while launching new products and services more successfully.

Change is never easy. Even with a new plan and a new ideology regarding social, you can expect that it will take your company more than a year to truly understand its significance enough to leverage it on a global level. Yet when your organization does welcome this transition and embraces social networking, you will have positioned yourself for the big future win.