Recently I met with a new business friend, Stefani Tucker, to discuss her forthcoming dissertation. She connected with me on LinkedIn (and wisely didn’t use the standard ‘I’d like to connect with you . . . ‘) and asked for some collaboration about her topic. Her LinkedIn invite mentioned she was planning to research how social media engages employees. When I got the invite I of course smiled.
Harnessing the power of social media for engagement is a topic I like to think about and discuss often. In fact, helping companies effectively use digital and mobile communication for social engagement is what we focus on at Red e App. Needless to say, I was grateful for the invite to collaborate.
As Stefani and I talked, we quickly discovered several broad issues that face most companies today as they begin to utilize the various social media platforms. Some of those issues are:
Necessary human resources and time to engage and communicate actively on social media platforms
Often a limited understanding and use of social media in general from executive leadership; thus, unsure of the benefit of using social media. Yes, email is a “social channel” but the use and response time of email is vastly different to the reach and speed of Facebook, Twitter or Google +.
Limited overall strategy for social media which is often disconnected from traditional marketing efforts
Narrow view of how to use social effectively as an extension of a business’s website, which in digital marketing terms, is best viewed as the hub of a wheel. Social sites are the external spokes that – when used in coordination with active participation on social sites – can help direct web traffic back to the hub. [Note: I’m not recommending that social media sites be used for only dropping links to company blog posts. Remember, the most powerful feature on any social site is the ‘Reply button’.]
One of the last comments Stefani made in our meeting though stuck with me. She said that what many businesses face right now is not even knowing where and how to start with social media and the various platforms.
I recommended that she focus on the term ‘social business’ moving forward – especially pertaining to her dissertation. The reason is that social media platforms are simply the means to allow people to be social and do what they are innately wired to do. That is to share news, tell stories, be social and yes, even gripe and complain.
The goal for a business is not to become an expert at social media per se; rather, it’s to understand that the communication methodology of the future for BOTH consumers and employees is going to be heavily tilted toward digital communication.
The human behavior to be social isn’t new. The means and mediums of communication have simply evolved and changed and THAT is what a business must realize and adopt to in order to earn the title of a social business.
Now and in the future, consumers and employees will be the ones to determine whether or not a business is truly effective at social media / digital communication engagement. They will determine that by how they vote with their wallets, how they influence their friends and family toward buying products and services, and even career loyalties to a company that values providing a voice to every employee.
Being social is not only smart, it’s the future of business – or as Michael Brito has keenly written: Smart Business is Social Business.
Red e App Product and Engagement Director