Putting People Back at the Center

Yesterday, my colleague Sean and I braved the weather and attended Social IRL Explore and Engage with Brian Solis and Jason Falls. The conference got me thinking – we’re at a shift in how we communicate, how brands impact our lives and how we, as professionals, need to re-focus on learning, leading and engaging.

One component of Brian’s keynote that really struck me is the Interest Graph. In order for us to reach our consumers, we need to be more relevant, more helpful and more human. Companies need to quit functioning like faceless organizations, and put people at the center. However, in order to do this, we have to turn the organization inside out. We could list the many reasons why the C-Suite would prefer not to do this, but we could also name the long list of reasons why companies must change, or die. Or in Brian’s words, “Engage or Die.”

The more and more that I’ve worked on social strategy and communications, the more I learn that no external strategy will ever accomplish an organization’s true goals. So, before you decide to create a Facebook page or get a Twitter account, start with these three steps:

1. Ask yourself: “Are you ready? Really?” Are you listening? What’s your review process? Can you respond to consumer questions, comments and concerns in a timely fashion? Can you truly engage in a two-way conversation? Do you have guidelines and guidance? Do you have a brand/voice guideline? Who will be engaging? Are your employees happy? You never want to hang your dirty laundry out for everyone to see, but in a world where access to information is endless, it is inevitable. Are you ready?

2. What can you provide that is of true value and relevance? Yes, corporate messaging on your Website is great and all, but it doesn’t give consumers information that they want and need? If you are listening, you have an idea of what customers really want. In a world where we’re bombarded with messages, what makes yours stand out? Relevance. This means that what we provide customers needs to be helpful to them as individuals. The days of mass broadcast are over.

3. What’s your long-term strategy? Social media is not standalone. In order for us to be successful, we need to look at all components of authentic marketing from paid to owned to earned to shared media. Integration and collaboration are key. Establishing an online presence doesn’t mean simply creating a page. It requires time, effort, passion, risk-taking and resilience. Do your employees live and breath the same mission that will resonate with your customers?

Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Any examples of companies you think are putting people are the center of their business?


Posted on January 20, 2011, in Leadership/Management, Marketing, Media, social media. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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