Social media vs. Social business: redux

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For those of you keeping score, I posted about the difference between social media and social business, back in January. In that post I outlined the primary differences between the two and stated that I hoped the future of business was truly social and not simply using a Facebook business page to dump content into, hoping to get some likes. However, at the time I wrote the post, I believed that most companies were doing just that while a few brave souls had taken on the ethos of social business by empowering their employees to speak about the company they worked for. What I failed to remember was the original mantra of social that we all learned “back in the day” – as I love to say.

People are already talking about your business online. You don’t really have a choice to make as to whether your business is going to be involved in social media. If your brand is worth talking about, you’re already in social media. The question then becomes; do you want to blissfully ignore it or participate in the discussion?

This is a thought that is at least 6 years old. Many of us had it before Naked Conversations but @scobleizer and @shelisrael clearly spelled it out.

Now if you take this same thought and apply it to your employees . . . yep . . . you’re a social business! They’re talking about your no matter what your shiny new social media policy is. (Anonymity breeds honesty, so you better make sure you’re fighting the good fight.) This is a new reality for many and the details of your new found social side need to be developed over time and based on who your employees are. Not everyone is a Twitter user or a Facebook user. You need to utilize their strengths and give them some autonomy dependent upon your business model. If this makes you nervous, remember that they are already doing it and by partnering with them, you can increase the opportunity to build real relationships with your employees.

By Michael Myers

I am an Associate Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. I also consult with startups and established brands. I'm currently focused on artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience and culture. I am married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, biking, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive and/or surf. I'm passionate about architecture, design, street art, photography and the art that tattooing has evolved into.

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