If you hate to read about people walking their dog, eating pizza or making you rich in 3 weeks:
You are connected with, or are following the wrong people.
What you read is who you connected with
If you are not sure how much time you should spend in social networks? Don’t spend any time at all.
Invest time in your most relevant contacts. If they happen to be in the social web – be where they are.
Invest time in relevant people not platforms
Social media is a interwoven combination of
a) the relationship aspects between individuals to build, maintain and expand connections, learn and teach faster, inspire and get inspired, and get more done – personally or business wise – in connection with others (social).
b) networks, platforms, tools and technologies (media)
That means social media is definitely NOT a channel or a new marketing tool to get your message out. Spamming and hard core selling would be counterproductive for everybody. Social media is a new state of mind not a new way to express old thinking.
Focus on ‘social’ – not ‘media’
We are all customers of somebody else, whether we make a personal or a business purchase. As such we are all interested in getting better products or services whether we talk about B2B or B2C.
Businesses can create one of the biggest values for themselves AND their customers when customers suggest improvements, help other customers to get more out of a product and directly or indirectly make recommendations. But that value can only be created if the teams inside those companies provide the necessary ways to inspire those conversations and receive those suggestions and act on them.
Create a mutual business value across all departments
Social media contains unparalleled wealth of opportunities for businesses to build better products or services based on customer interaction, improve the customer experience, reduce cost of operations and customer acquisition cost and solve company specific business challenges in collaboration with their customers.
Lack of a strategy to take those opportunities and degrading social media to marketing campaigns are the biggest mistakes businesses make in their engagement.
Think of purpose driven strategic Social Media engagements
The lines between personal and business use get more and more blurry.
The day we do business primarily with business friends and help friends to advance in their business – those lines are gone. Top executives know that business between business friends are the most successful. Social media helps making trustful business friends on all levels within an organization.
Don’t build walls between personal friends and business friends
Understand the NCP Model. The larger your Network the farther your reach. Contribution is the fuel for the relationship with your network. Sharing content or provide comments are some of the key contributions to spark an engagement. Participation from your Network in your Contribution is the currency of the social web.
If you have great content but nobody is interested, your social engagement will be limited. If you have great content but only a few to share it with, your engagement will be limited. If you have a huge network and massive contribution but no participation, your effort in the social web was apparently of no value.
If you contribute relevant content to a huge network and recognize a great participation, you know that you are on the right track, you know you gain influence and you see the return of your investment.
Think NCP: Network – Contribution – Participation
The social web is a virtual world, across all cultures, religions, political structures, and national laws.
People have the right to say anything and share anything. If you are offended, disconnect from the person who offends you – but don’t judge him or her just because that person is different and has a different way of doing things. What may be unlawful in your country, maybe an accepted behavior somewhere else. What was an accepted behavior in your culture just 100 years ago maybe even unlawful today. (See rule #1).
Be most tolerant and respectful
A company can’t be successful with social media if just a few people, or agency engages in the social web and the rest of the company does business as usual (See rule #4). If a team has no interest in the relationship to customers – a relationship cannot be delegated.
Own your relationships
Unlike in the old marketing world where your target audience was an anonymous and faceless mass of target groups, titles, demographics and territories that you addressed with equally anonymous ‘penetration’ techniques – in the new world you are actually engaging with human beings who have a name, a face, a need and are ready to socially engage. Unlike in the old sales world where it took hours and days to arrange for a meeting plus hours of traveling and typically an hour of a meeting, an engagement in the social web may take only a few minutes. It won’t replace the face to face relationship but it not only accelerates processes, it also allows a person to handle 10 times as many relationships as before and ten times as many interactions than before.
Engage with significantly more people in less time
Before you start any engagement make an assessment.
Have a clear picture about where your customers are in the social web and what is on top of their mind. Know what your business partners doing and how they engage. Know where and how your own team is currently engaged. Know everything about your competition because the social web is an open book that tells you everything.
Know where your entire market is
Relationships in general and social media in particular are like investments turning into assets.
You have to put something in before you get something out.
Treat Social Media like an asset
You post and engage publicly to gain exposure and get more feedback than through any private interaction. Everything you share is public. The level of privacy is determined by what you share – not by what network you use. Keeping things private is neither the purpose nor the functionality of social media.
You are the only one who determines the level of privacy
Building your social network, contributing to that network and gaining your network’s participation is a process resulting in reputation and trust. It takes months if not years to develop a decent reputation in that world. Building reputation in the social web is like the land grab in the physical world. While the land is limited by physical availability the reputation is limited by the attention span of the global audience. If you don’t have a computer yet, you can still buy one. If you never used the Internet you can simply buy access. But if you have no presence and reputation in the social web, you can’t buy it (See rule #12).
You can’t buy a social reputation – you will need to build and earn it.
Ultimately Social Media can create one of the most significant competitive advantages for any business. And since relationships are fragile most businesses won’t brag about what they do and how they do it. It’s not necessarily to keep it as a business secret but it’s actually the customers turn to brag about their influence into a company. Take any ‘Social Media success story’ with a grain of salt if presented by a consultant or agency or the company itself.
Create a competitive advantage but don’t brag about it.
Judge social media based on your own experience
At any given time in history new innovations have been rejected for the same four specific reasons: 1) It is not secure, 2) It has no value, 3) It will cost businesses too much money and 4) It is just a hype and will go away. Whether it was the introduction of automobiles, supermarkets, airplanes, computers, cell phones or any other technology.
Social media is no different, even though over 1 billion people are using it already. The only way to find out is to make your own experience and decide wisely and with an open mind.