When Social Becomes Business as Usual

Cosmoholotech
Miguel Garcia Customer Success Manager for UK, France and Germany, Yammer-Microsoft

Posted on March 18th 2012

When Social Becomes Business as Usual

These days it seems that everything has become social. 

We have social media, social gaming, enterprise social networking, the social web and the list goes on. It seems that social has taken over our world, but has it really? 

The very fact that we use this word simultaneously with so many different types of applications means we're only at the verge of maximizing its real value. The truth is that we've always been social. 

Our interactions in social networks are simply a reflection of our offline lives. The grand majority of us communicate with the same group of people every day and we have small groups of people that we trust. These are the same friends, family, and acquaintances that we keep separated in our circles of influence online. Paul Adams, author of "Grouped: How small groups of friends are the key to influence on the social web", describes this in length.

He points to the changing nature of the Internet from a repository of documents linked together towards a new structure built around people and their relationships. This has implications for businesses and their customers, but when you really look at it there's nothing drastically new about all this "socialness". It's simply being communicated with new tools and having a farther reach. The thousands of years of hard wired emotions remains unchanged in humans. Yet, we fail to communicate the naturalness of these tools by instead concentrating on the technicalities and market hype. 

In many ways we're being duped into believing that social media is this strange and exotic world that only a few can master. When in reality any reasonable human being can do just fine. The trick is remembering to stay true to yourself, act as you would offline, and do what you enjoy. Easy enough right? 

While many of us reading this consider ourselves savvy enough with social networks there is still many that see them as something very different to what they're used to. They fail to see that they've actually been social networking all their lives and just because you can now do it on a laptop or mobile device doesn't mean it's suddenly a foreign concept. Emotional connections need to be made so that more people can see the value of social networking in their lives.  

As the social web becomes a reality and available in many forms we will find the online and offline worlds becoming blurred. A multitude of social networks may remain prevalent but your identity will travel with you wherever you go, whether in your personal or professional life. All these advances are actually returning us to our social roots in a new and improved way. However, we're still tweaking it and much remains to be done to maximize the real value of social in our new world.   

Social networks will become the normal conduits of communication and that will be when social is simply the norm, not the differentiating factor. How will we know when social networks reach this point? When we stop thinking of them as social and start thinking of them as business as usual. 

 

Cosmoholotech

Miguel Garcia

Customer Success Manager for UK, France and Germany, Yammer-Microsoft

Born in Texas. Raised in Mexico. Currently living in London. Having lived on a border for half of my life I've seen some of the best and worst of life. Studied politics and international relations to understand people and relationships. Living now as a technological cosmopolitan trying to use the power of tech and social media to improve the way the world works. Working at Yammer, the Enterprise Social Network, which is now part of Microsoft Office. Seeking to become a serious entrepreneur fixing broken ways of doing things. Once I can prove myself even more I hope to become an author. 

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Comments

Colin Williams
Posted on March 19th 2012 at 12:39AM

Hi

Good article and bang on the money. I keep reminding people that social media is called ‘social’ for a reason - just be social. A good example is to look at the good small business owners. Typically these people become very successful through the way they socialise; they know the locals and they know how to listen, and they intuitively know when to pitch their business proposition.

These people have 'Ready Made' skills for social media, it's in their DNA! However, social media platforms seem foreign to them and when they do eventually get on; they feel they have to push messages in the same way the put messages in Yellow Pages or the local classifieds. If only they could relax and act no differently as they would when talking to casual visitors, friends and business people who they meet 'face to face' daily, social media will become be very easy and commercially very good for them.

If anyone is interested, I wrote an 18 page document titled – ‘Social Media – Ready Made For Financial Planners’. While written for financial planners, it could be used for the vast majority of small business operators and professionals. (The document requires a subscription – no fees or obligation thereafter)

Cheers

 

 

Cosmoholotech
Posted on March 19th 2012 at 9:11PM

Thank you Colin. 

Small business is a great way to show how social media can be a natural transition for the owners. Instead of writing "ad style" people are much better off talking about their business as they would to someone walking through the door for the first time. Just because your message has a farther reach doesn't mean you need to turn into a drone with a scripted message. If you can have a civil and informative conversation when presenting your business or products to potential customers, then you should have no problem writing about it to hundreds or thousands of people on social networks. 

FromAlex
Posted on March 19th 2012 at 8:06PM

Conceptually right, but you seem to be missing the point that social media interactions are mostly public (or at least visible to a much larger group) than you would normally communicate in an offline social network (phone or email).

You will never have the same conversation with an even a casual friend, if you were talking to him on a stage in front of 100 people, which is effectively what happens in any social media interaction (Twitter or Facebook). This tends to make interactions affected and often artificial than what you would normally tell your friend one-on-one. Most people are inherently not comfortable in speaking over a megaphone and that's a key difference.

Cosmoholotech
Posted on March 19th 2012 at 9:37PM

Thank you Alex. I appreciate your opinion.

You're conceptually right regarding social media marketing, brand awareness, etc.. but I was writing more from the side of small groups of people in social media- whether it is a department in an IT firm or a small group of your most trusted friends.

An average of only 18% of your friends on Facebook ever read what you post. The algorithm on Facebook is structured in a very natural way. The more you interact with a friend the more Facebook will push their content towards you. Why? Because that's what you would expect in real life. You don't walk around spending most of your life with people you barely know, you spend it with your closest friends and family. For the grand majority of us, the content we publish on Facebook is not really meant for the consumption of hundreds of people.

That's why social networks have also seen the value of custom lists (Facebook) and circles (Google+) because they know that to survive they must adapt to our natural way of communicating, not the other way around. 

You're right that most people are now very careful about what they post and that's a good thing! But most of us are not carrying a megaphone all the time because the people we really care about are few and it's not an issue to be yourself with them. We spend most of our time here, in this small comfy room.  

 

 

 

dennesho230
Posted on March 26th 2012 at 6:52PM

Great post indeed. One way of effective business is keeping active on several known social network site for   

calling several costumers or buyers. This are the one cool strategies use by rampant internet marketers nowadays.

emmastorbacka
Posted on April 2nd 2012 at 12:32PM

Good post indeed!

What I find particularily evident is that because most companies feel this way, they tend to put the people they believe are "social savvy" or at least understand the technical tools in one social media team / task force, and thus separates them from everything else in the business, while what actually would provide more value is doing it the hard way - training and educating and supporting each business function to utilize social elements to reach their business objectives. Naturally you would need a support function (social / digtial services support, similar to IT support role), but the point being that ANYONE can do it, you don't have to be a social media wizard...

Thanks for posting! Your blog post showed up in my twitter monitoring as my blog has a fairly similar name: socialasusual.wordpress.com...

/Emma