Why you will become ‘social’ in business

I sometimes hear my friends talking about ‘social’ in almost a sneer when it comes to their business.  For every company that is panicking about not getting into the ‘social thing’, there seem to be more who are of the opinion of “Oh Please, this is so much Internet hype.  Its just a costly fad that will fall by the wayside like all the others.”

If you find yourself in either camp, consider this.  Both arguments are wrong and I think you’re already “there” and going in deeper – willingly or not. 
 
Much of the press about “social” concerns social media marketing.  That’s a marketing method and strategy and it works for some companies, but not so much for say a ball-bearing manufacturer.  I get it.  Its not for everybody and for some businesses, it would be a huge and disappointing mistake to dive into marketing your widgets using Twitter or Facebook.  No one marketing model is right for every firm and ‘social’ is no exception.
 
But you will use ‘social’ in your business even if not for marketing.  If you’re reading this blog, you already are using it.  You found this entry through a feed reader or aggregator, or because I or a friend tweeted it (personal social media marketing) or maybe you’re just stalking me on the Internet.  Who knows.  But blogs are one of the components of ‘social’ in business.  
 
Do you have a chat program in use at work?  Whether IBM Sametime, Microsoft tools (including Skype), or other chat tools built into your system, that’s social business – you simply don’t use the telephone when you can ‘ping’ somebody faster than you can dial. Just the ability to ‘see’ that the other person is at a computer or device is game-changing and barely noticed anymore.  I can’t say “I didn’t get your message” if you ‘see’ me online.  This IS social business.
 
Why does any of this matter to you in your business?  Because the other parts of ‘social’ that you may need can get lost in the noise.  Watching local or national television programs running Twitter feeds as ‘news’ is hilarious to me and invites the kind of trolling and foolishness that occurs as a result.  Its the wrong tool being used the wrong way.  Yet Twitter is credited in helping to overturn dictatorships because it IS so pervasive.  
 
You risk tuning out the parts of social business you need by not looking deeper into the tools available.  What if you could gather the collective knowledge of your most valued employees and share that to make everyone better at their jobs?  The tools are available.  Wikipedia is an example of gathering collective knowledge from many sources.  It’s not peer reviewed research, but I bet you’ve looked something up there in the last month. And nobody gets paid for putting the information out there.  Wikis are also a huge and (insanely messy but) valuable part of social business.  
 
What else might you be missing that could help your business be better and more profitable?  Do you even know?  Do you know what tools exist and even what you may already be entitled to use.
IBMConnect2013

And of course this IS going to turn into a commercial because I sincerely believe what I’ve posted here and I think that IBM Connect 2013 in January is a great place to not only strengthen your technical skills in the tools that you use today, but to discover what you might not know –  because of what you think you already know.

I’m going to be blogging for IBM officially during the show – I get to attend sessions I probably never would have before now.  I expect to have my eyes opened and hope you take the opportunity to learn also.  PLUS, there’s no snow in Orlando.  Make your reservations today and find me there.
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About Susan

I am a nerd girl. I currently work for IBM as part of the support group for Connections. While some of the postings here look like work stuff, the opinions and intellect and intellectual property are mine and mine alone. I am a unique individual and my employer in no way defines me. Still, I like the pay check, so thanks for that, IBM.
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One Response to Why you will become ‘social’ in business

  1. Adam Smye-Rumsby says:

    Interesting post. I’m particularly concerned about those who fall on the side of social business being a fad. I recently wrote about some of my concerns for such organizations for IBM’s Social Business Insights blog: https://www-304.ibm.com/connections/blogs/socialbusiness/entry/january_3_2013_10_35_am?lang=en_us. How have people reacted when you point out chances are they’re already using some kind of social business technology?

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