Saturday February 13, 2010
Jon Reed discusses the issue of how 'social' social media really is and its place in business.
Recently, I've been wrestling with the world of online social networking. Is it something that can help me, or that I can use to help our business? Should I be a tweet or a twit? Do I want to be linked in or linked out and is there a place for facebook in business or is face to face still the way forward?
I'm the kind of person who once committed to something has to do it properly. So my 'all or nothing' approach was explored recently when I attended an event that made me think carefully about the impacts of using social networking for business - and equally not using them.
I heard that the Chief Marketing officer for Kodak, Jeffrey Hayzlett, has recently suggested his organisation was recruiting a Chief Listening Officer (CLO). Someone employed to do just that, watch different social media networks, and listen / respond to anything relating to their company. I thought that sounded like a fairly forward thinking approach, especially when I realised how Jeremy justifies it: 'What's the Return on Ignoring?' as opposed to Return on Investment.
Organisations like Kodak (and there are many) have come round to the idea that some of the discussion happening online can make, break and take business. Certainly from a networking point of view the efficiency of sitting at a computer and connecting with people all over the world has advantages and having up to date intelligence on what people are thinking and doing must help organisations with their competitor advantage.
However I'd like to think meeting someone face to face is more engaging than a tweet or a connection online. As a business we always keep up with trends. Learnpurple and talent toolbox can both be found on facebook, and twitter. We have our own part time CLO, a student, who monitors blogs, twitter and facebook on our behalf. However we still occasionally send actual letters, stamps and all.
For me personally, I need to find out more and understand better how to harness the potential of tools such as linked in. I can see huge mileage in using them as a vehicle to network - and some opinion out there suggests that in time twitter will overtake google as the number one source of information gathering -so it makes sense to be a part of it. For those people that haven't tried it, I would say get someone (probably under the age of 25) to explain the basics, and then join in. I'm sure your competitors are and if you're not involved then you can't manage what people are saying about you.
As businesses we can't ignore that social media is definitely revolutionising how people do business, how they complain, how they share information. This applies to our employees too, and we need to manage their use of these sites. What information are they sharing, and with who. And what are they saying about your organisation and their experience of working there. We have been asked to do several bespoke courses around this issue, and so have introduced a new learning bite called the intelligent use of social media networking.
What are your views on social media? Any top tips from those who use these sites regularly?