Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Institute for Social, Search and Mobile Marketing’s (ISSMM) “Business Transformation Requirements for Mainstreaming Social Media” executive roundtable moderated by Charlene Li of the Altimeter Group. It was a great venue and a very informative roundtable discussion. There were folks from all sorts of companies including a large technology company, a produce company, a car parts company and even a clothing store. Lots of different verticals, sizes of companies and different titles represented. In addition, there were folks there with little to no social media experience and others with tons, but none more so than Charlene Li.
If you’re not aware of who Charlene Li is, she is the author of “Groundswell” and “Open Leadership“. She is at the forefront of social media, has a wealth of knowledge and was so happy to share what she knows with the small group of folks in attendance.
Charlene started the roundtable off reminding us of how new some technology is and yet how far we’ve already come. Rough dates include Facebook in May 2007, the iPhone app store in July 2008 and the Android in 2010. Although sometimes it seems like social media has been around forever, we’re really just at the beginning of it. We’ve come so far in just the past few years, but there’s so much more to do, learn and accept. A few years ago you more than likely would not have found someone with a social media title at any company, yet during the meeting, about half the people in attendance had social media titles.
No matter how new social media is, the basic principles will always remain the same. You must build relationships with your customers, partners and employees and in doing so, you must build those relationships on honesty and authenticity. How do you do that?
1 – Create a culture of sharing both internally and externally.
2 – Train folks on the reason your company is getting into social media and make sure that they understand the benefits, as well as the negative aspects, of it.
3 – Build a program because it’s something that will benefit your company, something that is encouraged and something that is supported. Don’t do it because everyone else is doing it.
4 – Provide value to your customers, partners and employees. Don’t be focused just on the number of followers. How many of those folks are actually engaged in your program? That’ll be the real telling factor of the value of your program? How many likes to you have? How many retweets do you have? How often is a new conversation started in a group? Has sales increased?
There was a ton more information that Charlene provided, but you’ll have to read one of her two books or her blog here to find out more 🙂 In short, social media is all about having an honest and authentic relationship with your customers, partners and employees.
If you are using social media, how are you using it in your practice?