Why are most business today are anti social media? Rob Asghar of Forbes.com shares the details.
|Image Source: forbes.com|
Sure, today it’s breathtakingly easy to talk in real time to someone on the other side of the planet. But it’s also harder than ever to connect in real time with a real human being anywhere who gives a damn about you.
Your call to the customer-service center is shuffled off to a faceless script-reader in Manila. Or many times you don’t even get that: You get a machine that keeps asking you, with an edge in its voice, to take another crack at clearly stating the nature of your problem.
And pressing “0” only gets you another computer voice, mocking you and reawakening the spectacular sense impotence that your family instilled in you at the dinner table. The truth is that the company that you called doesn’t want to hear from you. Ever. You only wanted to discuss a minor billing question, but now you need to return to therapy.
How did our human organizations get so, well, inhuman? Social-media guru Brian Solis says that it’s because of our business models, which are focused on efficiency rather than value.
They’re thinking, “How quickly can we get them off the phone?” Solis says.
Businesses and organizations are inherently social. “But what ends up happening,” Solis says, “is that we build a firewall–how we are with friends and family, versus how we are in business. Business is structured to be efficient. It becomes optimized. It becomes anything but social.”
Solis says wise organizations, for their own sake and for the sake of their hapless customers, are beginning to undergo a “social revolution.” “People are being put back into center of why we’re a business,” he says.
Businesses have a compelling reason to get social: They can’t control the public discussion in the manner that they used to. “Information is too democratized now,” Solis says. While businesses used to be able to use the traditional media like a megaphone, now whatever they say through that megaphone is drowned out by the chatter on social media. They have to adjust drastically in order to be a part of the conversations that matter.
Solis coaches top social-media strategists on how their companies can become truly social. But that brings up the Social Paradox:
Being social, in our era, means jumping into a public conversation in which your company doesn’t have central control of that conversation. At the same time, your senior executives, who do have central control of the organization, often fail to see the benefit of being truly social. And so they block or undercut efforts below them to move the organization in a more social direction.
This requires new media people to adjust. “Social media people need to learn to speak the language of the C-suite,” Solis says.
He pointedly doesn’t fault just the executives for the communications gap. “For some reason, marketers are often more enamored by new technology, than by what it can do for the business,” says Solis. They ask for large outlays for the latest social-media trend and are frustrated when CEOs don’t hand over a blank check. CEOs shrug and counter, “Why can’t people just go to our website?”
The CEOs have to focus on bottom-line business outcomes, Solis says, and too few social-media workers appreciate this. “In order to earn executive support, you have to empathize with a day in life of your executive. Think like the executive.”
Solis proposes a modest, non-revolutionary approach. “Having the executives change their philosophy is too hard a task,” he argues. Rather, he recommends that social-media strategists step up and own the task of better connecting their activities to the bottom-line business outcomes that the CEO is beholden to.
That allows the social-media person to become far more strategic and productive, he says, in recognizing how to track customer sentiment, how to create awareness, and ultimately how to create deeper engagement.
John Bohan is an internet entrepreneur for more than a decade. Visit this Facebook page to know more about him.