Thursday, June 11, 2009

Re-humanizing business with social media

Social networking tools like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. are re-humanizing business. That was my biggest take-away from from the Ohio Growth Summit 2009 which had an entire track devoted to social media for business.

I must admit I was surprised. Although I have been pretty active on LinkedIn for some time: I am only just getting active on Twitter: and I just recently updated a long-neglected Facebook page: However, I hadn't really put together the idea that all this technology was re-humanizing business.

A recurring theme of the sessions was how most businesses don't "get" the potential power of these tools. I certainly only had a glimpse of their full power prior to hearing from some people who have really leveraged these communication platforms. People are making important connections using these tools. They are also doing "hard business". They are finding new clients and distribution channels. They are recruiting the best and brightest of the next generation of employees. They are building cultural capital and high employee engagement cultures by encouraging the use of social networking by their employees. The social media-savvy business still seems to be the exception though.

Many organizations remain too rigid and hierarchical to embrace these tools. There is the great and pervasive fear of losing control- an illusion to which many still cling. There is also the popular and hard to refute personal reason for not playing the new social media game: I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR YET ANOTHER THING ON MY TO-DO LIST!

Well, this world just keeps spinning faster and it turns out that it only takes a little bit of strategic focus to get these powerful tools working to re-humanize your business. Here are some simple ideas to consider:

1. Encourage your new business development/sales & marketing folks to learn what the experts on LinkedIn are doing.
2. Get your tech folks and HR team together to explore how you can best use the tools your employees are already using to build a stronger culture.
3. Get your customer service folks to start "listening" with the tools and then figure out how to actively engage the conversations already happening about you.
4. Have your leaders start blogging- for the team or for the public or both.

Chances are, with a little strategic effort, you will find these tools will begin to re-humanize your business too!

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Blogger Unknown said...

As I was reading this post, so many comments came to mind. But, I'll try to pick the most relevant.

You mentioned that some companies are not embracing Social Media because they fear losing control... The fact of the matter is that their brands are already been talked about in social media and they better learn to address what is being said. We are going back to an era of true conversation / dialog leaving behind the era of one-way broadcasting. At some point, we will all have to get on the bus.

The second comment has to do with the matter of time. People claim not having time for Social Media. I agree it is time consuming, but at the same time it is a time saver. It accelerates the organic process of word of mouth, which is without a doubt the most effective means of marketing, in ways not possible by other communication technologies or marketing practices. It creates real loyal bonds that are priceless. Hence, it is a great way to use your time.

It is no doubt part of a necessary change. We have to go back to listening and asking how can we better serve. How and when did we ever forget that?

Javier Muñoz
Twitter: @justaction

June 18, 2009 at 7:36 AM  

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