Where The Work Is Going

Vintage photography: at work

If you’re a social media type, the work is heading towards being embedded into everything else. It’s not less important; it’s more mainstream. The work you’re doing is becoming part of marketing, part of customer service, part of internal comms, part of the wiring of the business.

Yes, not everyone has embraced social media, and yes, there are two or so more years left for social media consultants to make some money helping people get their wiring in place. But it’s moving into being part of the fabric, not something exclusive and amazing. In several places, it’s already become that.

NPR reported yesterday that Barack Obama has millions (20?) of fans of his Facebook page, but that only 16,500 people “liked” his town hall speech at Facebook headquarters on Wednesday. Yes, the mainstream news is reporting on how many Likes the US president gets for various events he throws.

If this isn’t a sign that we’re embedding social media and that you’d best be doing social media AND ______, then I don’t know what is.

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Be part of whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish instead of being the social media island. Be the marketing team, not the social media person. Be the sales person who uses new tools, not the social media sales person. Tell stories using the tools to grow business; don’t use the tools because they’re cool.

The whole trick of it is that the work is embedding in the larger picture. It’s not going away. It’s mainstreaming.

Bigger Business

The big thing big business needs is education on how to mainstream these tools into their processes. Listening to how smart companies successfully use social business gives other companies hope, but not the blueprint. The school bell has rung, but the students don’t have teachers who are methodically incorporating the social business tools into the fabric of corporate life in a meaningful way. This is a huge opportunity.

Smaller Business

To me, the big opportunity is weblocal: that web-to-offline-to-web-again experience. I think there’s so much that small businesses have to do to get further along in this space. Only 40% of US small businesses have a web presence at all. Most of those who do have old bannerware sites that don’t really satisfy their business needs.

And here’s the reality: I heard three guys at a local restaurant discussing the web. One says, “You know, they say you’re going to have a website really soon to do any business at all. There won’t be any business for people who don’t have websites.” The other two guys just laughed. “Yeah, right,” they said.

There I am, sitting next to three people who probably represent that 60% very strongly. Here I am thinking about the fact that no one in my building took a copy of the yellow pages when they showed up (lowercase, because there are so many versions of the yellow pages these days, and no one’s reading any of them).

There’s so much opportunity to help small business by going deep into driving results for them. It’s not going to be about “you need to be on Twitter.” It’s going to be about “Here’s how to get more leads, to nurture your prospects, to educate your buyers, to service your customers.”

Where Are You Going?

If that’s where the social work is going, where are you going? What’s your story? If you’re doing social media for a company right now, what’s changed lately? How do you see your role progressing?

And do you see it differently?

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