Social networking tools like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. are re-humanizing business.
That was my biggest take-away from from the Ohio Growth Summit 2009 which had an entire track devoted to social media for business.
I must admit I was surprised. Although I have been pretty active on LinkedIn for some time: http://www.linkedin.com/in/tomrausch I am only just getting active on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tcrausch and I just recently updated a long-neglected Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1522495234&ref=name However, I hadn’t really put together the idea that all this technology was re-humanizing business.
A recurring theme of the sessions was how most businesses don’t “get” the potential power of these tools. I certainly only had a glimpse of their full power prior to hearing from some people who have really leveraged these communication platforms. People are making important connections using these tools. They are also doing “hard business”. They are finding new clients and distribution channels. They are recruiting the best and brightest of the next generation of employees. They are building cultural capital and high employee engagement cultures by encouraging the use of social networking by their employees. The social media-savvy business still seems to be the exception though.
Many organizations remain too rigid and hierarchical to embrace these tools. There is the great and pervasive fear of losing control- an illusion to which many still cling. There is also the popular and hard to refute personal reason for not playing the new social media game: I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR YET ANOTHER THING ON MY TO-DO LIST!
Well, this world just keeps spinning faster and it turns out that it only takes a little bit of strategic focus to get these powerful tools working to re-humanize your business. Here are some simple ideas to consider:
1. Encourage your new business development/sales & marketing folks to learn what the experts on LinkedIn are doing.
2. Get your tech folks and HR team together to explore how you can best use the tools your employees are already using to build a stronger culture.
3. Get your customer service folks to start “listening” with the tools and then figure out how to actively engage the conversations already happening about you.
4. Have your leaders start blogging- for the team or for the public or both.
Chances are, with a little strategic effort, you will find these tools will begin to re-humanize your business too!