Make “Social Business” More Personal, For That's What "Social" is All About

By Steve Weissman posted 02-20-2014 13:49


“Don't underestimate the power of social media – regularly updating your status through social media sites is an effective way to let your loved ones know how you are doing.”

– From the U.S. State Department regarding communication while traveling during a sudden local emergency

Perhaps partly because our AIIM New England Chapter is holding a social media-related educational event next month, the preceding quote jumped out at me while I was finalizing arrangements for an upcoming business trip to Hong Kong. Sure, Twitter and Facebook are being used to provide peeks into closed-off places during times of crisis; that’s not new. But the personal quality of the statement somehow boosted the wattage of my mental light bulb and shed new light on how socialand medianeed to be combined to be fully effective.

Simply put: isn’t “social” all about “personal”? And isn’t the job of “media” to captivate the “persons” targeted? Yes and yes – and it’s just as true in business as it is at home.

This degree of intimacy, if I may use that word, is what has been missing from so many of the conversations I’ve had about “social business,” which in most cases simply has meant “using social media in a business context” – like installing Yammer, say, or creating a corporate Twitter account. Now, there’s plenty of value to be had in using social media that way. But to be maximally effective, you have to reach people, as was articulated in A Few Good Men, “deep down in places you don't talk about at parties” – places that stimulate our primitive survival instincts and trigger engagement the way our “fight or flight” response does.

For travelers, one of these places is the pit of the stomach, which is where the fear engendered by the prospect of an emergency situation comes home to roost. For business workers, one may be the wallet, which they may fear will be emptied should they miss a deadline reminder or executive briefing summons, and lose a promotion or job as a consequence.

Whatever the example, the point is that the familiar tone of State’s advisory triggered some intrinsic human reaction that caused me to say, “Pay attention to this!” Isn’t this what you want from your social business communications as well?

#SocialBusiness #social #socialmedia