I just finished up participating in one of our events for Social Media Week, a global conference taking place in several major cities around the world. Our panel moderated by colleague Robin Hamman included Euen Semple who previously ran social efforts at the BBC and Vincent Boon from Giff Gaff, while it's still fresh on my mind, I wanted to jot down a few key thoughts:
Social Business Is About Applying Purpose & Intent At Scale
The above diagram is something I started off with and an attempt to describe social business in one visual. At it's core, it's about connecting stakeholders who are critical to the success of your business. And as I've stressed before—it's about executing initiatives leveraging the "3 P's"—People, Process & Platforms. I stressed starting with people.
Social From The Inside Out
Euen said the following:
"There's no point aspiring to be 2.0 outside the firewall when you are still operating at 1.0"
While I would not go as far as to say there's no point, (an organization can learn from external initiatives) I concede that Euen's point is well taken as so many organizations don't internalize social behaviors externally. If you can't walk the walk, how can you talk the talk?
Vincent stressed that Giff Gaff customers are viewed as "members" and I simply loved this perspective. It is exactly in line with how "social" has altered our behaviors. Marketing departments always viewed their target as "consumers" but thinking of them as members and co-creators is a really nice way to acknowledge how empowered they are and how this can benefit themselves as well as the business.
Shiny Objects Be Damned
As I write this, I'm looking at a leaderboard created for Social Media Week London which uses Kred to rank "movers & shakers" AKA individuals creating noise this week at the events. It's clever but also a distraction. I referenced some of the efforts Verizon takes to include feedback into their services via forums—as well as levering experts who actively produce content and engage. Often times a social business is one that doesn't attract the most attention, but generates results. Beware the bright and shiny objects that capture attention but don't deliver long term value.
Below is a short video of the panel before it started just to give you an idea of what we covered.
I love my job. Seriously.
The skeptical among you may read this as shameless corporate cheer-leading, or a PR ploy (given I work at a PR firm). It's not. You have to understand that I work for a very unique company—in fact, it's been the most unique career experience in my life. A sixty year old company—technically family owned (not public) with over four thousand employees globally and the CEO of the company wears the last name of the founder, his father.
Which brings me to the video above. I had the opportunity to interview our CEO, Richard Edelman on the topic of trust as it relates to our annual study (Edelman's Trust Barometer). We teamed up with the Chicago chapter of Social Media Club and opened up our new floor in the Chicago office.
If you don't have time to watch the entire video (though I recommend it as it's a great discussion) I'd encourage you to fast forward to the last five minutes. Richard says what every "employee" wants to hear. As a CEO, he believes that the top can do their part by cultivating a culture where failure is not shunned, but embraced as part of the innovation process.
"...that's the one thing the top can do"
Stop what you're doing and check out this thread (on Google Plus of all places) started by Francine Hardaway. She started it off with a simple question.
"Who are the best experts in social business?"
What followed was a robust discussion on what social business is, isn't and who's driving the agenda forward in the space both in thought and action. If you're interested in the emerging definition of social business (aka the convergence of enterprise 2.0 and social media) I highly recommend you taking a look. Some of my favorite thoughts:
"the thread that social business is not the same as social media, or social media marketing. Social business is about BEING social, inside and outside the organization. Social media is about DOING communication differently. The former is holistic (ideally). The latter is decidedly less so, but that doesn't make it unimportant."
"I think we're getting a little cute with the wording or definitions; I think that most of the people who've earned respect in this business have long been advocating that the smartest application of social platforms is to integrate them across the organization, including employees and the entire supplier and partner chain. I agree with everything in the definitions of "social business," I just don't think it's that big of a departure from what serious social practitioners have been up to for a while."
"The value that social interactions bring here are on several separate levels. In the most basic form it adds value by capturing all that unstructured knowledge that we still try to manage (classical knowledge management); then comes value from inter-collaboration and relationship networks; then comes value by applying analytics to those collaborations and knowledge capture; and finally the transformation and dynamic/flexibility to managing what used to be very fixed processes"
"I think to do social media right, you have to know customer service, human behavior, trends, business (finance, forecasting, marketing, high level strategy, departments, inter-department working, crm) and then you need to understand how people use and receive social channels tools. You have to be able to sit on top of a perch and then connect it all to the rest of a company. Not a lot of people do this."
As for me, I do see some distinction between social media and social business. Social media is communications focused. Social business is communications, r&d, legal, sales, customer support, operations, collaboration etc. All at enterprise scale. Internal and external. It's applying a social layer across an organization. Who are the experts here? That's not the real question. The real question is who is ready and willing to do the hard work over the next ten years. That's about how long I think it will take most large organizations to fully integrate "social" even if, by then we are calling it a different name.
A few significant events happening over the next few months—here's where I'll be:
Chicago: February 6th, Social Media Club, An Interview With Richard Edelman
Our I'll be interviewing Richard Edelman our CEO in our new office space as we host the Chicago Social Media Club. We will be discussing this Year's Trust Barometer findings. If you can't make it to Chicago, we will be live streaming video the interview at 5:00 CST.
London & New York: February 13-16, Social Media Week
Our London office is hosting a panel titled "Social Business In Action". A topic I'm very passionate about—then off to New York for an invite only wrap party in Edelman's NY Penthouse space. If you'd like to find out more about that event, please contact Libby.
Austin: March 8-12, SXSW
Will be participating in a panel at SXSW, titled "Media, Measurement: Science, Art or a Load of Crap" organized by Trulia's Ken Shuman. In addition, Dell's Richard Binhammer and I are returning to co-host the fourth installment of "Allhat" (more tickets to get released next week). And, Edelman Digital returns with our late evening, Nightcap event to kick things off.
If you'll be at any of these events, please say hello!
The scale above shows the many stages one has to go through in order to become a bona fide self-righteous jerk in social media. Still, there are many people who aspire to reach this peak, but fall short in executing against it. Given this observation, I thought it would be worthwhile to piece together a few best practices which will ensure your status as a social media self-righteous jerk (or SMSRJ). In no particular order:
1. Join The Klout Gestapo
All social media SMSRJ's know that Klout is simply evil incarnate and requires a organized force to take on this evil axis of influence wherever it resides. A true SMSRJ will never-ever create a Klout profile and lash out against anyone who dares do so. If Klout is the Devil, then Klout Perks is the Devil's spawn. Perks are to be shunned, banished and those who recieve them should be branded with a scarlet "K".
2. Unfollow Offensive Twitter Followers In Public
Only seekers un-follow people or companies who they no longer derive value from quietly. It is the true SMSRJ who announces it out loud in some fashion or another. Tactics here can range from a thinly veiled post or an all out campaign. Make sure you get a few social media gurus on your side to link to your public posts and shout your discontent from the rooftops. A SMSRJ really knows how to make a public spectacle of their personal dissatisfaction.
3. Target Social Media Gurus
While on the topic of social media gurus, ignore the fact that while almost no true social media gurus actually call themselves that—they are the conduit to becoming a guru yourself. Take them down, one by one. Call them social media gurus every chance you get. Make sure all your social networks know you are doing real work. Tweets like "I'm still at the office knee deep in spreadsheets" will establish your credibility as a non guru. On your non-guru social media blog, write at least one post a month taking on a clearly identified guru in any subject you wish to establish authority in. If you're really lucky, they might even link to you.
4. Analyze Social Media Influencer Lists
A new social media influencer list comes out about once a week. Make sure you find them and when you do, interrogate the creator on their methodology. Be sure to use your own made up metrics to throw them off the fact that you're actually upset that you're not on the list.
5. Use The #Humblebrag Hash Tag At Will
If it looks like a humblebrag and acts like one—it's a humblebrag and any SMSRJ has the responsibility to use the hash tag to combat this perverse social media behavior. After a few good uses, be sure to celebrate on your next vacation by relentlessly publishing pictures of beaches, mountains and gourmet food on Facebook. Hey, everybody's doing it #humblebrag.
6. Take Up The Cause Against Personal Brands & Corporate Cheerleaders
A true SMSRJ creates social media feeds which reek of authenticity. However, shameless promoters are out there at every corner. They need to be dealt with. Let them know when their personal brands have gotten out of control. Or even worse, if they talk about their jobs and promote the companies who support their families. Take a zero tolerance stance pointing out that neither is acceptable. A handful of SMSRJ's have even built successful personal brands pointing out how dangerous personal brands really are. Learn from this and you too can be internet famous in an ethical, respectable and admired fashion.
7. Call Out The Book Promoters
Let's face it. Every author out there is using social media to promote their books. Unacceptable. Out them, blacklist them and once you have enough material to write a book yourself, make sure you mention your book in one out of every five social media posts. Just enough to promote it, but not enough to arise suspicion from non-author SMSRJ's.
8. Engage (And Let Everyone Know How Engaging You Are)
So many people are out there using social media as a broadcast channel—they never even talk to anyone else. Blasphemy! Make sure that you spend most of your activity engaging with others. Make sure they know you're engaging them. Remind them to engage back. Engage to the point where you risk work deadlines or real world relationships. Social media requires sacrifice. Bring your offerings to the alter of engagement and make sure everyone knows it.
9. Embrace Two Colors: Black And White
Nuance is for the weak. The SMSRJ sees only two shades—black and white, right and wrong. There is only one way to do social media right—see steps 1-8 for instruction.
10. Direct Your Energy Toward The Unenlightened
Spend the majority of your time watching others. Obsess over their social media habits and dissect their transgressions. It takes ten thousand hours to perfect any craft and this goes double for the committed SMSRJ. Don't be distracted by your own initiatives but stay focused on what others do and allow their behavior to drive your mission in social media—to rectify social media injustices around the world.
*This post designed to make you think. Social media guru not required.