I Need Social Media!
Clients regularly approach MiXT Media Strategies requesting social media help:
Can you help me set up a Facebook page?
How do I “do” Twitter?
I want to “use” bloggers to broaden the reach of my marketing campaign—where do I find them?
These are the wrong questions for two reasons. First, these are the wrong questions because social media is not about the tools and technologies.
“Huh? What about all of the blogs, social networks, RSS feeds, video-sharing sites, etc.?”
Nope. Those are tools. Social media is about the capabilities that these tools enable. Successful social media starts not with the tools and technologies, but with good, old-fashioned business planning: mission, vision, goals, objectives, strategies.
Second, these are the wrong questions because they are selfish. The behaviors and capabilities that social media tools enable are engaging, participatory, relational—social. They are not something that you “do” to your customers to elicit click-throughs, response rates or sales.
To create a successful social media strategy for your organization, you must first understand social media in context.
What’s Going on Out There
There are two world-changing dynamics in action right now. First, the proliferation of social media tools and Web 2.0 technologies is fragmenting the communications landscape. Not only are there now simply more communication choices, but these new tools and technologies enable us to further fine-tune our communications by speed, formality, time and place. We have myriad choices never before possible. How we communicate is now as complex as what we communicate.
Second, we as a culture are emerging from the Broadcast Era and entering the Collaboration Era. This means a marked change in the way we communicate. In the Broadcast Era, we pushed information AT our audiences through traditional, one-way media vehicles. The Collaboration Era brings about a whole new set of capabilities that change our communication expectations. No longer are people satisfied receiving information, they expect to be able to jump in, engage and be a part of the two-way conversation. The opportunity to participate in new and meaningful ways is changing us from content consumers to creators, participants, collaborators…communities.
The Opportunity: a Case for Collaboration
Collaboration makes organizations more efficient and more effective. Organizations that embrace collaborative practices—supported by innovative social media tools and technologies—will decrease costs and increase sales by increasing satisfaction and retention of employees, customers, vendors and partners.
The Challenge: a Catch-22 of Catch-22s
What complicates things is that each of these dynamics, in and of itself, is a Catch-22.
- We can’t understand the benefits of collaboration until we collaborate; and yet we can’t truly collaborate until we understand the benefits of doing so.
- We want to understand the value of social media tools before we invest our time and energy in using them; and yet, we can’t truly understand the value of social media tools until we use them.
What further complicates things is that collaboration and social media tools together create a Catch-22.
- We can’t truly understand the benefits and possibilities of social media tools until we use them to collaborate; and yet we can’t truly understand the benefits of and possibilities for collaboration until we utilize social media tools collaboratively.
collaboration social media
The confluence of these two separate but connected Catch-22s presents a solution: the Confluence Process. Teaching organizations to use social media tools and catalyzing a cultural shift towards collaboration requires a process that manages the interplay between these two dynamics.
The Confluence Process that MiXT Media Strategies has developed enables organizations to use social media tools to learn the value of collaboration while simultaneously engaging in collaboration to understand the full extent of social media tools’ value.
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