Social Media – You’re Doing it Wrong!

The more time I spend trying to convince people that being social in your job is an important part of getting work done, the more I realize some just don’t/won’t get it.  I just posted up a new article and then stumbled across this gem.

“…on a daily basis Social intrudes on my life for about 15 minutes a day and then I go back to ignoring it and doing real work.”

Just so you don’t think I’m making this up, I’ve grabbed a screen capture of the post I found, ironically enough on an Enterprise Social Network. (I left out the individual’s name and photo).

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Well my answer is you are doing it all wrong.  Social Media sites like Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn are every bit of ‘doing real work’ if you use them correctly.  If you are simply going to LinkedIn to look for a new Job, on Facebook to check out what your friends posted up from their party last night or to see what people posted about their favorite TV show on Twitter, than stop reading now because you probably agree with the person in the quote above.

If you are using these tools for work or want to learn how, read on.  Several years ago (January 2008 to be exact) I sat at a Birds of a Feather session at a Conference to learn more about Twitter and how to use it for business.  I had been blogging technical articles for quite a while and relied on the RSS feed to get the word out to whomever followed it.   As I introduced myself to ask a question about how I would used Twitter for business purposes, a voice in the back, said, ‘Oh you write blog xyz, good stuff man.’  I turned and thanked the man and instantly recognized him from the picture on his blog.  The speaker knew my company and now gave an unsolicited promotion about our products and proceeded to explain that Twitter wasn’t just to share what I’d had for breakfast.  In turn, I could follow people in the room and hopefully they would return the favor.  Then, when I posted a new blog article, I could quickly promote it by giving a quick summary and a link to the article. If they liked it, they would retweet to their followers who would then follow me (hopefully).

“I went back and started the process.”

It all sound great, right?  And it is, when you do it the right way.  I went back and started the process.  I created an account and started following the few guys from the session.  I then looked at who they were following and added a few new people.  I made it a habit to look every morning to see what was new.  Some were noise and I learned to skip over those but others, provided technical content or information about industry happenings.  I’d like to tell you I did it perfectly from the beginning.  At times, I tried to just ‘fit in’ and be part of the crowd.  But in time, I learned what type of content got traction and what did not.  I learned how to not only take from the crowd, but give back some insight and thoughts on a topic at hand.  Soon I found myself using them as resources to fix an issue at work, or get some additional information for a project I was working on.  I’ve used several of them in business engagements, shared personal stories about my kids and built a relationship all because of Social Media.

I encourage you to read the the last quote above and re-read it again.  It’s a process.  Not a quick answer.  Take your time and start doing Social Media the right way.

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Using Social Media vs. Being a Social Business

Things are changing quickly in my world and each day seems to bring something new with the product I’m managing and the conversations I’m having with my customers.  One thing that is staying constant is the confusion I see and hear on almost a daily basis.  That confusion really revolves around a particular phrase.

Social Media vs. Social Business

Take a moment, what’s it mean to you?  Are they the same? Different?  You thought the same, but my question is prompting you to think differently?

Seriously, take a moment and think about it.  I’ll wait.  I’ll check Flipboard until you are back.

Alright, let’s move on.  As I talk to customers, I commonly ask ‘Are you using any Social Business Platforms to help you collaborate?’  If they know I’m talking about IBM Connections, Yammer, etc, we have a pretty good conversation about why or why not.  The other side of that response is usually something like, ‘I don’t have time for Facebook or Twitter.  That’s kids stuff.’  Ugh!  Where to start?

In doing some research, I stumbled across this blog post by Pam Moore and thought is was perfect. (I just had the pleasure to meet Pam in person at IBM Connect and talked for a bit about the struggles of getting people to under stand this.)

“Social media, social business… what’s the difference? Social media is a set of tools and technology. It’s a medium that enables a conversation between human beings. It facilitates a one to one, one to many or many to many dialog for both people and brands. It presents opportunities beyond what traditional media and marketing can offer when integrated and aligned with business goals.Although we all become the media when using social media technologies, it is not about us broadcasting via a one way stream of self promotion. It’s about leveraging the medium to build relationships, provide value, share our authentic self and connect as human beings.In early 2012 I wrote an article to start a conversation for us all to get our arms around the definition of social business. You can read the article here-> Definition of Social Business?

Thinking back to my conversations has me really thinking that their is a big gap to understanding what ‘being social’ means and getting it implemented into a business setting.  I’m seeing more and more companies come on board, but my fear is they are not ‘selling’ it to their employees.  And it can be a hard sell, believe me.  You need buy-in from the top to get it to work.  You have to show the business value that it presents.  I plan to write other posts on this subject in the very near future.

In the mean time, I’ve got a few questions that I’m looking for feedback on.  Join me in the conversation on this topic.  I’d like to discuss it further on here or any Social site you find me.

  1. When you think Social Business, what does that mean to you?
  2. Do you work for a Social business?
    If so, what platform do you use?
  3. What struggles have you seen in getting to be a Social Business?

IBM Connect 2014 – Social Collaboration at its Finest

I spent the last few days in Orlando, Fl at the IBM Connect Conference. If you haven’t been there, it’s a great collection of technical and business content revolving around IBM’s collaboration suite.  Topics range from deep dive technical to Administration and the value of “being a social business”.  Every speaker I watched were among the best out there.

I really went into overload this week with all the nuggets of information that were being presented. Social business is a topic I’m very passionate about so the content really hit home. Instead of taking notes to later reference, I tweeted. Numerous posts all day long. I tweeted and retweeted and tweeted some more. I tried to share all the good information being throw out there.

Among the things I heard during the week about being a Social Business:

  • User adoption never ends, it’s an ongoing process
  •  Align social to your top business goals
  •  One ROI of being a social business – searching and reusing intellectual capital
  •  Social business is about changing behavior, not technology
  • We are in the Generation S (thanks @PamMktgNut)

When I put it all together, here is how I would summarize.

“You won’t find that ah-ha moment to break the barrier into being a social business. It’s a process. A combination of things. And when they all come together, you’ll be a social business.”

I’ll be writing more and more in the coming days and weeks on things I learned and will continue to develop this topic.

The 4 days was full of content sharing, product knowledge and was a chance to catch up with old friends in one of the strongest communities I’ve ever encountered.  It’s been a fun 6 years and I have every intention to make it back for a 7th year in January of 2015.

SCT: Social Collaboration Tips

Some of my most recent posts have centered around effectively using Social Media tools to collaborate and get work done.  I’m a big believer that Collaboration is the key to success. I don’t necessarily think that means sitting around a big table talking out ideas for hours (but more on that in a future article).  What I’m referring to is Social Collaboration.  Finding a platform that allows you to share and collaborate anytime, from anyplace, from anywhere you may be.

If used correctly, it is a powerful tool that no business should be without.  One reason that I think Social Collaboration fails is lack of social etiquette (or knowledge or proper procedures). It’s not typically the fault of the participant, they probably weren’t trained.  With that said, I’ve decided to start a series of tips that will hopefully help alleviate some of this.

I have no schedule for how often I post these.  As they come to me, I’ll post them up. A recent tip came out of pure frustration when I was working with a vendor.  I’m sure you are all frustrated at times with the people you collaborate with, so let’s have them.  I’d like to crowdsource this topic and build it up. Send me your topics, or articles or simply write you own and tag it SCT.

So how do you participate?

  1. Comment here
  2. Send me an email
  3. Connect with me on LinkedIN and send me a message
  4. Tweet me a topic
  5. Schedule a meeting in a conference room and we can discuss it
  6. Skype me
  7. Call me
  8. Send me a letter in the mail
  9. IM
  10. Other communication ideas you have (please see #1-9 for ways to let me know)

SCT: Don’t use a discussion to assign tasks

Social Collaboration Tip: Don’t use a discussion to assign tasks

Any Social Collaboration software worth it’s weight will have some type of ‘Task’ or ‘To-do’ functionality.  Basecamp has ‘To-Dos’. IBM Connections has ‘Activities’.  All too often I see people have a conversation in a forum or discussion thread and ask others to complete a task.  The problem with this is several things:

  1. It may not be fully defined task
  2. The person you are asking to complete it may miss it in the rest of the conversation
  3. Changes or additions to it can get lost in the conversation

Instead, you should take advantage of the system they provide. The ‘To Do’ function should allow you to assign it to a person, assign a due date and define/discuss the task at hand.  This provides you with a clear communication method to get the task at hand done.

SCT: Don’t hijack another post

Social Collaboration Tip: Don’t hijack another post

While it may seem like a silly statement to say, I see it all the time.  Just because it’s easier to ask another question or you think it relates to the topic at hand, don’t start another conversation in an existing entry. It makes it confusing to follow along with the original topic and causes people to abandon the question.  When you have several subtopics going on, the original idea gets taken over and is never fully discussed.

Instead, start a new topic for you idea, question or thought.  If relevant to the other topic, simply place a link to your new topic in the original discussion. This way, all ideas will get the full attention they deserve.

What do they really want?

You’ve heard me talk about my new role and it’s been eye opening to say the least.  Partly because it’s new.  Partly because I want to do so much.  Partly because it’s a constant learning experience.

It’s different than any other product I’ve ever worked with before and it’s the beginning of the journey, not somewhere in the middle.  One of the first things I had to do was step back and realize, my user was different than any other user with my previous products. Yes, there was some cross-over, but the majority had a different spin on who and why they would be using the product.  And what they wanted out of it.

Breaking it down by User types helped me get a better feel for use case of each.  Back in her days at IBM, Mary Beth Raven, wrote a lot about User Persona and the User Experience.  I find myself thinking back those articles and what they taught me.  You have to take yourself out of the ‘developer’ role and think not what do I want, but what does my user need.  It’s easy to forget this step.

Another recent article I read from the Beradi Group, spoke about the ‘9 Marketing Musts, Delivered by a Duck‘.  For those of you that haven’t heard, I giant 40’ duck has been hanging out on the Three Rivimagejpeg_0ers here in Pittsburgh.  While her article was marketing focused, the 5th item really hit home for me.

Made us feel something. At the Duck, couples hugged and things were downright joyful. We hummed Sesame Street’s 1970s hit, “Rubber Duckie.” We felt a sense of belonging and a pride that Pittsburghers were doing artsy, creative things. It made us think differently, too. We wondered if air kept it afloat, like a balloon. What happens to it in a sharp wind? Could it tear a hole? As art does, it shook us away from our day-to-day routine and helped us see things from a new perspective. That’s why we’ll remember it.

User are emotional.  They attach themselves to decisions they make and typically make those based on emotion.  If you don’t believe that, look at all the companies that leave IBM Domino & Notes for other email platforms.  It’s an emotional decision. You are never going to take that out of the decision making process.

As you build your customer experience, attach yourself to the end-user and the emotion that goes into buying and using your product.  Your end result will be better for it.