Give Business a Social life

Watch the Brian Solis video – go on, it’s only 11 minutes, and he is an entertaining presenter.

It’s OK, I can wait til you have finished. I’ll just quietly hum to myself, ho hum, hum, hum…

~~~ 11 minutes passes ~~~

Good wasn’t it?

I enjoyed Brian’s beginning with the subtle mickey take of those constantly on social media, yet he goes onto make some strong points about the power of what is being posted… if only businesses would listen. I’ve been at events where (usually) the 50-somethings decry “young folks of today” with their facebooking and tweeting and getting their few minutes of fame for doing nothing. (Wasn’t ‘Seinfeld’ a show about nothing? Seemed to do quite well.)

The irony is that many are tweeting away during the event, many are taking photos of their friends in the room in their ball gowns and DJs and proudly sharing these with their friends who are not in the room. This sharing brings the event to a broader audience, and in so doing is saying something about the brand a speech to the room cannot. Some people reading and viewing those posts might think ‘what a fun night – I’d like to work there, looks fun’. For others, it would be a reminder of the brand the next day, and for maybe months afterwards. Personal referrals mean so much more than ads or carefully crafted PR campaigns ever can.

While I agree that most of what is posted on Facebook and Twitter is rubbish, it is just as it was at the dawn of the Internet. Most things posted on forums and web sites was also rubbish. Heck, most of what people say out loud is rubbish. Most ads are rubbish. Most TV is rubbish. Most phone calls are rubbish. Most meetings are rubbish.

Back to social media. Within it people are (perhaps unwittingly) revealing bits about themselves. It is not the ‘likes’ in themselves, it is the impressions you are leaving about specific things you are doing, liking and sharing. The same with Google, whenever you search you reveal something about what you want. That’s valuable. Or rather, should be, for those businesses taking the time to listen.

All these wants and desires tell us in business tremendously important information. So, as Mr Solis says, you can deplore it on a narcissistic low level, make fun of it even (as he does at the outset of his presentation), but perhaps you can also think a little deeper about how businesses themselves should get “a social life” and broaden their understanding, interactions and connections with their consumers.

Isn’t that exactly how the businesses of the future (and now) should be behaving?

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