After leaving in 2009 (a live podcasting service that I started in 2005), I decided to write a book about how small and medium-size businesses can most effectively use social media and social networking tools to achieve their goals. That book is called “How Can I Capitalize on Social Media When My Kid Has to Program My DVR – A Busy Executive’s Guide to New Tools No Business Can Afford to Ignore.”

Image: Not Social Media

Thinking back about that book as I begin writing another one, here are the 3 most important things you need to know about “social:”

  1. It’s not about you; it’s got to be about them. If it’s not valuable to your target audience, why would they devote their time and attention to you? They won’t. If you’re pushing the same, old marketing monologue (e.g., look at our products and services, check out the pictures of our company party), you’re wasting their time … and your resources.
  2. The majority of the economic value in social networking will come not from external communication (read: marketing) but instead from internal applications (e.g., Yammer, Chatter, Slack). These are tools that can improve communication among your employees. Even small gains in employee collaboration can result in major improvements in profitability. And that’s to say nothing about improved recruiting results, longer employee retention, better product management, and enhanced customer service that can result from smart application of social networking tools.
  3. Ken Blanchard once said, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” Participating in social makes everybody smarter. For most companies, there’s at least as much potential in listening as there is in talking. You can get new product ideas, learn about competitors’ weaknesses, discover new sales opportunities, and know what your coworkers know. Social accelerates organizational learning.

That’s why your company needs to embrace external and internal social media and social network tools. If you’d like some expert assistance (I’ve developed social media strategy for more than 100 companies), let’s schedule a time to talk.

Image credit: Flikr member jw800 (public domain)