Social and Visual Leadership

The paradigm has shifted, and the learning curve is steep. Some will rise and some will fall. Social media marketing is only a small piece of the picture. Understanding that social is people, and people are not just our customers is a start to the journey.

Organizations are made up of people in many different roles. Their jobs require people both internally in the organization and externally in partners, product & service providers, new hires, investors, and so on. Relationships are what count whether business to business or business to consumer, it comes down to people.

Each person has a story that contains knowledge, experience, passions, interests, skills, and people.  Each individual is a unique part of the whole organizations and defines its collective story.  It is this story we share and grow in social technologies.  Leadership must take active part in the story for an organization to succeed in this new paradigm.

Social Optimization, the building and maintaining of MUTUALLY beneficial and effective relationships, is a key behavioral shift when mastering the Art of Social Strategy.  This does not come simply from balancing the gives and takes by counting interactions.  The behavior change must be a result of recognizing the value of all relationships as part of the whole.  It comes from understanding who we are (as individuals and organizations), what we have to offer and what/who we need and how to reach it/them.

Social technologies are tools that help us optimize this change in behavior when we learn how to best apply them.  They simplify our processes for supporting our networks and communities, receiving that support in return.  Sharing knowledge globally through different sensory stimulus has never been easier. It has evolved beyond text.  It is visual, interactive, musical and memorable. Language and time are no longer limitations for creating a global community of advocates.

Understanding who we are and who is part of our story is the first step of the journey.  How you apply social optimization is what will determine your success over the long haul.

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Social in Kosovo

Listen to this delightful local Swing band, Zig Zag, that played at the closing gala for The 1st International Conference on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Kosovo as you read.  I had the great honor and pleasure to be invited to speak on Social Entrepreneurship last week in Pristine by the Mirlinda Kusari of the She-Era organization. This conference was ten years in the making, and much needed boost for the Balkans and Eastern Europe. I came away from the experience both inspired and reminded of perspective.  This is the gift I receive whenever I participate in any capacity building programs in developing markets, that returns my social investment tenfold. Read More

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Return on Investment in Social Media

We all seem to be trying to find the magic answer to the question about the return on investment (ROI) in Social Media. We must view it from both the user and the provider, and yet those lines are becoming more unclear. From the perspective of the user the cost of participation is determined by the value of our time and the return is dependent on our needs as a participant. What is it worth to you to build your network and brand? As entrepreneurs, we are our brand, so what is that worth? As recruiters, employers and potential employees what is the value of building a trusted network of references? As content providers or advertisers how do we measure the impact of recommendations when the end consumer may be simply browsing content but leaving no interactions themselves? These considerations defy the system of how we calculate ROI from revenue models.

The social investment can be greater or smaller at different times in our lives. We therefore struggle to find a tangible value to attach to this interaction. We participate more when we are in “need” of something. That need might be based on a investment and return when calculating ROI. In the current economic situation we see escalating participation in social media as the needs are high. Individuals need to connect to others both familiar for comfort in the known and unfamiliar for the potential for change. Small businesses require maximization of their minimal capital for marketing niche products and services via tools through contextual advertising on social media. Consultants must build their personal brand to compete with the growing pool of resources released by downsizing organizations. Globalization opens the world to new products and services and new markets that previously were not considered. Entrepreneurs in the developing world are now able to compete on a more level playing field and opens opportunities for new partnerships and cooperation.

This is not to say that there is no return on investment capital from social media participation on either the business or individual’s perspective. But rather, it is critical to use a more extensive equation to calculate the true return on investment in social media. For the social calculation we need to consider: time invested (hourly rate), value of satisfying the “needs” (comparison of cost for alternate methods for supplying that needs), effectiveness, reach, actual cost of investment, and satisfaction with results. Only then will we have an accurate calculation.

Flattr this! Declare Yourself

I love when I find new sites that are doing good things. I was introduced to today and feel the need to shout out. Much like a reminder to stay authentic, this site is a simple concept of declaring your intentions and passing them on to be inspire others into doing the same. The act of declaring gives cause for reflection. Beautiful. Thank you and kudos to Bill Liau for another great work.

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Social Enterprise

A social enterprise in the academic sense is one that has a vision that is socially motivated for improving peoples lives. This said, when presented with a social enterprise that has the potential for making a profit, it is somehow tagged as unethical or evil. I argue that we should encourage more companies to think socially and remember their vision, as often the original vision is socially motivated. Profit produces incomes and it encourages innovation of better goods and services.

Building 2BalanceU has been a passionate endeavor for me driven by the vision to make it happen. The best bits of inspiration I have been given have often been from a fleeting interaction with someone unexpected. Opening myself to new experiences and cultures has helped me to learn and become who I am. I wish to provide a tool to extend that opportunity to women around the world to share and learn from one another. It takes so little effort to share what we already know. And it can make all the world of difference to the receiver.

Remaining authentic in our actions is critical for credibility. We intend to make a profit, as it will help us grow to create a better tool to a larger more diverse audience, compensate us for our efforts, enable us support our partners in their efforts and remain viable. We believe that we can improve peoples lives, including our own, in a profitable social enterprise.

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