If you think the world is divided into two groups: those who “get” social media and those who don’t, you’re not ready to create change.
- You’re talking tactics, they’re talking strategy
- You’re talking output, they’re interested in outcomes
- You’re interested in social media for its own sake, they’re wondering how the activity will accrue to existing business goals
Of course there are exceptions to the rule. Frank Eliason from Comcast was able to extend the company’s customer service reach on Twitter without prior official approval. If you’re like Frank, you’re the exception. If you’re most people, you’re going to have to make a business case for cultivating a meaningful presence on the social web.
If you’re bullish on any particular toolset or tactic or particular social network a la Twitter or Facebook, get ready to talk about how your presence will relate to individuals, what service it will provide and what kind of customer experience it will generate for your brand. Nestle’s Facebook page was the source of some recent controversy, was this part of their strategy, or the result of not having one? We may never know.
If your answer is to just “be human” understand that being human is a strategy and “being human” might mean different things to different people. Get ready to flesh out your definition into a real strategy.
What about buzzwords?
If you’re relying on these types of buzzwords alone to communicate your strategy, you will need to dig deeper to explain how these approaches translate to an actual experience.
If it seems obvious, too bad; not everyone can live in your head, or on Twitter. There are some people who think solving differential equations is painfully obvious, or remembering the differences between affect and effect. Whatever.
Your ability to connect the dots between conversations on the social web to business strategy could be the sole reason you have a job or a client. After all, if everyone knew what you knew your role might not be so necessary.
I hope this comes across the right way. My very unscientific observations indicate, in 2010 there are still way more people who want to be working in social media than those who are actually being paid to do it.
If you’re still in the social media evangelist camp hoping for the opportunity to show your stuff, the more strategic you can be in your approach the more likely you will be to convince your employer or potential client that you have the skills it takes to correctly identify the tactics and talent to extend your brand into the social web.
Despite the rant, I really am on your side. Does this help?
Photo Credit: jonas_k