It gets tiring and it’s more than a little counterproductive to point out bad columns and outrageous statements in our space. Far be it for me to be a curmudgeon when the truth is I speak to a lot of highly qualified people with clear goals, great experience, and a desire to understand how social helps their companies and their careers.
So here’s a more positive take, based on an article I just read at Crowdshifter.
Anne Deeter Gallaher delivers specific information on how to pitch, understand, and ultimately do a better job in social business. Her article, Social Media and the about his, seeks to explain how “business works,” and the ways in which you can educate yourself and improve your selling proposition when in front of a number cruncher.
My two favorite in her list.
4. Understand operational expenses vs. revenue generation. How can you use social media to generate revenue? If you use social media to sell cars or for customer service, can you follow the conversation into a lead into a relationship into a sale? Can you use social media to connect with a decision maker or learn something valuable about the company (e.g. the CEO tweeted that she was attending a Penn State University football game and you’re an alumna)? If so, then it’s a good investment and worth the resources…
6. Read what they read.
Read the whole thing. Both for what it can teach you, and as an example of how to write. When we compare this to the normal column on social, what we see is a clear point of view expressed with specific recommendations on how to create change. This is a good thing.
One of the harder things to do as a consultant is to give enough information in a column or a speaking opportunity without giving away the farm. Without a doubt, writing great content is important, but the third time you see some joker steal your material and get paid to rewrite it, you began to rethink your content sharing strategy might be flawed.
Ms. Galleher’s column solves the problem by going ahead and telling you what to do, while recognizing that actually doing it takes a range of experience most consultants lack. Great ideas can’t just be stolen, they have to be acted upon with competence. Sure you can suggest that consultants read the magazines their clients read, but who actually does it? Only the successful ones who plan to stick around.
This touches on a bigger problem social media faces. Our lack of the ability to sell as a community leaves us prey to someone else adopting our ideas and claiming our reward. Before I did the work, I had this problem. It’s originally what led me to stop writing advice. My solution was to become a solution provider, and not a strategist. Being a solution provider meant learning how to sell our services, not coming up with ideas that took us 30 minutes to type into a blogpost.
In future weeks, I’ve got more interviews of practioners in the field on whom I rely to give me the real skinny of social business innovation. We’re going to discuss how they got their jobs, their range of experience, and what it takes to be successful as a social employee.