Youâ€™ve hit on my primary soapbox issue when talking to people about the use of Social Media in a business context. The problem â€” well, my problem â€” with â€œtraditionalâ€ marketing communication is that itâ€™s so obviously fluffy and phoney and too often absent any signs of life. Yet in my experience so many marketing people seem to think that the audience will suck that up. Thatâ€™s one aspect.
Another is the idea that businesses donâ€™t communicate, people communicate. The use of Social Media makes old-school faceless, sanitized, â€œofficialâ€ communication obsolete. This is the age of technologically extended personal connection to a global personal network. In that network the lines between business interests and personal interests is very blurry indeed. And thatâ€™s as it should be. As individuals our professional and personal lives are inextricably intertwined.
In that environment, can a business survive if it continues to engage with customers, partners, suppliers, or employees as a single monolithic entity? I think not. A business is a collection of individual people, a kind of techno-organic network â€” a network within the larger global network. The use of Social Media allows individuals within one network to engage with individuals in other networks on a more personal, and thereby more effective level.
As individuals we are all nodes on that overarching global network. Social Media tools allow us to create and manage our own connections. This is a cataclysmic change in the business environment, but itâ€™s a cataclysm that businesses can survive if they learn to unleash â€” and trust â€” the individual voices within.
In order to be effective, those individual voices must reflect the legitimate passions, interests, and expertise of the individual, rather than spewing out the same tired old monolithic marketing message. Every time I see a press release disguised as a blog post I want to stab myself in the brain with a pencil.
And that brings us back to your excellent point about the importantance of the legitimate, real, individual voice. With a little luck and a lot of enthusiasm Social Media can finally drive a stake through the heart of the monolithic business-speak and marketing fluff that gets in the way of the more valuable personal connection businesses of all sizes must make with customers and the other roles that are essential to the business.
Photo credit jbcurio