when email first came out, and you were so excited to get an email from someone you know?
Then companies got a hold of email as a marketing tool, and now your inbox is full of shit. Email has been around “forever” and most companies still don’t know how to use it effectively. Yet you, like most, will still answer an email from someone you know and trust, someone that has captured your attention with a subject line, or someone that is trying to solve a problem for you.
when Social Media first hit the scene, and you were so excited to have “your space?” You had a place where you could interact with friends and family across time and geography in a lively, online, social environment. It was asynchronous, it was social, and most importantly, it was ours. The early days of social were a bit like the hippie movement of the 60’s. Peace, Love and Connection, man…no corporate interests.
Then companies got a hold of social and started pumping ads into it and taking the same copy they wrote for something else to post shit to your wall. Yet you, like most, will still respond to a post about your friend getting married, a humorous picture, or someone saying something nice about you.
We’re in an environment where businesses are trying to figure out how to effectively navigate a space that is absolutely not theirs.
Social is for the people.
Meanwhile, if you look at the way businesses are approaching the social media space, the emphasis is far more heavily on monetizing than empathizing. They’re often the party guest that shows up early and empty-handed and barges into the house without knocking, where instead they should be showing up on time, with a bottle of wine and knocking.
Part of the problem is that the focus has been about getting better tools, not building a more skilled team. The focus has been on technology instead of people.
It’s time to refocus
Maybe it’s just me but I don’t think the conversation about social media starts with the TOOLS, I think it starts by talking about PEOPLE.
Every day I get a request to demo a new tool. They promise that it will help me be more efficient, it will give me better analytics, it will MAKE ME into a social business. The problem is that there are companies that believe this.
So companies start by picking a tool rather than first thinking about the long term business objectives, and thinking about each and every one of the people involved; they are looking in the wrong direction.
I don’t think the problem in business is a lack of proper tools for using social media more effectively. There are tons of great tools out there and most are evolving at a rapid pace to meet the needs of businesses.
I think the problem is that we don’t have enough people that use the tools effectively.
The tools doesn’t make you good at what you do…it simply enables you.
I can buy the best golf clubs out there, it may shave 1-2 strokes off my game…maybe.
I can buy the best car, with all the bells and whistles, it doesn’t mean I’m a better driver.
I can buy the nicest and most expensive baseball bat, I’m still not going to be able to hit a major league curveball or knock a towering homerun into the upper deck.
I can buy the best social media listening tool out there, but if I can’t put together the right search query or empathize with the customer complaints I find, then it’s useless.
As businesses invade the social space more and more, it’s important that they focus less on monetizing “us” than understanding and appreciating “us.” They need to become better listeners. They need to train their people. In short, they need to become more social, not just be more present on social.
Without these skills, all of these tools are meaningless.