Is Your Social Business Made of Straw?

Post by Ray 5 years ago - Social Business - 2 Comments

I’ve been trying to get my head around why it’s so difficult for business to understand the “social” part of social media. 

Then it hit me like a Homer Simpson “D’oh!” slap.

We’re trying to force social business on to people. It’s like dragging Steven Harper to a party then asking him to dance Gangnam Style.

Building a Social Business of Straw
Those companies doing “social” right already have a culture of innovation, collaboration and communication in place. When social media came along, it was like giving Viagra to Don Juan.

What these companies also have in common is they’re client centric. Customer service is not just a buzzword; it’s their mission statement.

The majority of company leaders have their heads buried in the day to day tasks of running their business. They grab at whatever straws are handed them in a hope to make their life and their business better.

One of those straws is social media.

What inevitably happens is that they then try to assemble something without taking time to build the necessary culture foundation to support it.

We all know what happened to the straw house.



Integrating social into a company is about change management.

As consultants, we’ve been telling companies how to interact on social media, how to use Twitter, Facebook and the rest for few years now.

We’ve given them the beauty tips but they’re wasted unless what’s under the lipstick is a princess… and not a pig.

What’s a company to do if it understands the merits of being social but don’t know if they’re ready? 

1. Assess

Here’s some questions you might want to ask…

  • How familiar is executive management with the various forms of social media and how they are used?
  • What are the biggest obstacles to the adoption of social media practices?
  • What are the biggest challenges in creating and maintaining consistent content?
  • Who on staff is most enthusiastic about talking to customers? About social media?
  • How does the company normally react to negative commentary from the media, customers, competitors and other stakeholders?

2. Outsource

My friend Rich McElaney over at BrassCycle wrote a post this week: Overcoming Blog Outsourcing Problems.
He lists several reasons business owners give for not publishing content:

  • Not enough time to write
  • Not sure what to write about
  • Can’t be committed to writing
  • No one’s available/qualified to manage the process
  • Not sure if it’s worth the effort

Content is more than just written text, of course. But producing video and podcasts can seem even more intimidating. 

Time is always at the top of any list of challenges, and it comes down always to priorities. There are many tools and apps that can help save time.

Researching these tools and managing social media is what social media expert do.

Every company has more content than they realize, it sometimes takes someone from the outside to reveal the treasure within. 

Not worth the effort?

Let’s see, your clients are on social media. They talk to each other about you on social media. They’re asking questions of you on social media.

Clients aren’t worth the effort?

You can outsource the tasks but you can’t outsource you. You need to make sure that it’s your voice that’s heard. (check out EasyBizBlogging)

3. Train

Though chances are that many in the company use social media personally, there is a big difference between personal and business use. Many won’t be comfortable with either the technology or the responsibility of speaking for the company.

Radian6 released an eBook that addresses Training Your Staff for Social Media. Here’s a few tips for building the Training Framework:

  • Clearly state the purposes for why the company is adopting social media and why a training program is in place
  • Set clear goals and measurable objectives for each piece of the program
  • Develop different course levels to account for different levels of adoption as well as create multiple opportunities for achievement and break the process into easily digestible mental bites
  • Set in place tactical how-to training, as well as conceptual training and example scenarios
  • Test or benchmark the program to gauge the progress of employees as they move through the program
  • Create a review process for assessing the effectiveness of the program, the effectiveness of your trainers and when your program needs updating
  • Have available a library of published educational resources that employees can access before, during and after training

The success of our social media efforts is dependant on how well we’ve integrated social technology and culture into our lives and business.

With only one third of Canadian businesses on social media and nearly half not very enthused about its merits, do you think we’re still  early in the game or just bad coaches?

About Ray Hiltz

Thanks for dropping by. I'm the Director of Digital Marketing for My background in business includes non-profit (performing arts), restaurants and Promotions. Having moved on from my own strategic consulting company, I now write about what interests me. So in this blog, you may read about my thoughts on marketing, health issues and business culture. You can follow me on Twitter @rayhiltz or @image24Call

2 Responses to “Is Your Social Business Made of Straw?”

  1. jess_dewell

    It’s amazing how much a quick look (or re-look) can help find new/improved ways of doing something.  Knowing who around us like to do something makes the outcome that much better because of the heart that’s in it.  Thanks for putting this info together.

    • jess_dewell Very true, Jess. The most innovative people are those that love what they do and live to find better ways to do it.
      Thanks for dropping by 🙂


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