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.
This entry is in response to the World Economic Forum’s commencing in Davos with the Growing Influence of Social Networks and the workshop topics they will cover. First of all, It is great to see this critical topic put so high on the agenda at Davos.
“How are social networks changing society?”
Working with face to face and on-line global networks, it is clear to see the benefit of the reach that on-line social networks provide. We are able to interact with our community members regardless of their location and mobility. We are introduced to secondary and tertiary communities for knowledge sharing that both sides benefit from. Knowledge is shared based on need or interest, not simply, who you know or what you can pay for. We therefore see accelerating growth in the developing markets, especially through women entrepreneurs who have been given access to knowledge previously unavailable. Women are building businesses that give back and are supporting each other through microloans, distribution of products and building networks for growth and education.
“What are the most important implications and risks for society?”
The risks are that we ignore the conversations. Education and training are important. So is building the infrastructure to avoid creating further disparities in wealth in developing areas. One response here was that the risk is isolating those that are not connected. This is no different than with the emergence of email. Social media are a new communication form, NOT just a channel. The risk is that we treat it as a channel and miss the opportunity to communicate, share knowledge and learn.
“What should individuals and institutions do to leverage the power of social networks and improve society?”
Individuals and institutions should focus on learning and teaching effective uses of social media and networks. Face to face interaction is the foundation of networks and relationships, but social media provides a needed opportunity to have fare greater reach in depth and breadth. Knowledge sharing is critical for the future. Identify the thought leaders in social strategy (in your organization and from outside) and work with them to learn and teach you and your organization to benefit from the new tools not be left behind by them. Define a strategy, and align it to your vision. Create guidelines and policies to simplify the best practice both for yourself and for your organizations.