One Thing We Know: Changes are Coming for #SM & Business

December 18th, 2012   •   no comments   

While it may be true that there is a lot we don’t know, one thing we do know for sure is that changes are coming in social media for businesses. Not just the applications and tools themselves (such as privacy changes), but in how businesses adapt and execute social media to do business.

I am currently reading @ValaAfshar and @Brad_W_Martin‘s new book, The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence: How to compete, win and expand through collaboration. It is a good baseline for why businesses should be in the social spaces. I haven’t finished it yet, but Afshar and Martin explore the way we are all connected through technology has how it has changed everything over the past decade. According to the book, college students check their smart phones every ten minutes. There is a new term for this: “F.O.M.O.”, or “fear of missing out.” The stress of not knowing what is happening is more distracting to them than constantly checking—amazing opportunities for businesses and for the future.

Changes are inevitable. What it means to me for my clients is that we must constantly re-tool, re-think and re-apply. I’m not suggesting we deviate from our strategies but that we challenge and crosscheck them against the business of social.

For example: After January 16, 2013, Facebook can sell your Instagram photos without your consent or knowledge and your photos can end up in an advertisement. How do you feel about that? It means (and I have said this countless times) that your personal life and your professional life paths are intertwined forever in the digital space—a permanent and forever type of life, a cyber and viral lifespan. Some might shy away from this spotlight while others will rush to seek it.

Here is my advice moving forward for businesses:

  • Have a social media policy and review it to incorporate the changes, often.
  • Know that what you post online can be found and sold. For some, this might be okay. For others, it conjures up heartburn, loss of proprietary information and is a goldmine of opportunity for lawyers.
  • Educate yourselves, your employees, your customers and clients. Read everything you can and ask questions of those early adopters and strategists.
  • Post your strengths online. I say often that you are what you tweet. What do I mean by this? It’s simple—you should tweet and post most frequently about what you want people to know about you.
  • UNDERSTAND who REGULATES your industry and know the rules (banking, healthcare, legal, etc.).
  • Check and re-check privacy settings as they seem like they are changing with the winds. Be aware that Facebook has ended the practice of allowing users to vote on the changes it makes—including your privacy.
  • ASSUME and post as if everything you share could be grabbed and re-posted for the world to see.
  • If you are going to use someone else’s data or reference it online anywhere, seek their permission and/or CREDIT the source—just like in the old days before the internet. If we used someone else’s information, we had to cite our source.
  • Our college students and kids are growing up using these tools like we used pencils—there’s a huge risk factor here. We must teach our children and students how to post, what to post and what not to post. Period.
  • If you mess up and make a mistake, say you are sorry and move on. Some people have been burned so badly that they just leave and never come back. I think we learn by doing and just like anything else, we’re all going to make mistakes. It is how you handle those mistakes that is important.

What are your predictions and suggestions for doing business digitally in 2013?

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