April 20, 2011

The Powerful Social Web

Will It Work?

I'm often asked if diving into the deep end of social media will work. It's akin to hoping the dusty treadmill will get you into shape by looking at it. Participation is essential or all the tools in the world are irrelevant.

Just yesterday, I had a moment between meetings and checked for messages. There was one from a colleague who inquired whether I might be available for something on short notice - like, in a few hours. I quickly scanned my to-be-done list and felt confident things could be moved around.

Can You Help?

I contacted the person who needed the hand and I quickly found out yet another colleague had been involved and suggested me as well. I have spent time with both colleagues but our original contact was online. Two hours later I was ready to go. It turned out the emergency was averted but it got me thinking about all those conversations I have about the power behind the social web and that is the people.

We have gadgets and channels, blogs and podcasts, websites and technology all to choose from when deciding how to enhance our business. Many will claim that if your website is well written, with all the right search words, you will get more juice when potential customers are looking for your solution. Others will claim that their big shiny solution will help you despite paying much attention to your potential needs. And all the while, no amount of lipstick will pretty up an ugly business.

Do You Know?

My colleagues Mark Blevis and Bob LeDrew were conspiring on my behalf. We have those people in our lives - no matter how we may have met them - who want us to win, who want us to do well and who understand the value we bring to a situation. Those people could be friends, colleagues, customers, suppliers or all of the above.

There is a lot of chatter on the social web about the slow shift toward social business and I strongly agree we need to move there. But many individuals and companies are still grappling with how to engage. If you step back and look at things from your customers' perspective, you may get a better handle on how you want to proceed. If you look at things from a stance of helping rather than selling, you may gain more insight into the process as well.

Did You Win?

No matter where you are in your evolution, the digital landscape should be looked at as a compliment to your current business strategy. It will not save bad internal and external customer service nor will grow the revenue line if there is no commitment to solid business practices. Social media are not lottery tickets.

Print, outdoor, radio, television, mobile, digital or social all can be utilized to help you grow your business. But without people, they are just channels. I met two guys over the last few years who became friends, who shared business ideas with me and while going about their busy day mentioned my name to someone who needed a hand. There is no channel that will create that for you without connecting on a human level.

Who are you conspiring to help?

Kneale Mann

image credit: iwritealot
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