For a long time now, I thought that many businesses were reluctant to use social media because the technology and its adoption scared them. But now that many businesses have plugged in, I think the issue for many is that people scare them.
Bringing people into the organization that weren't there before is the phenomenon that businesses need to really understand and get comfortable with. The implementation of technology, believe it or not, is the easy part. Like any other product; you can buy it, if you need to, and consult with others on best practices.
But nothing will save a business in this new social world if they really, deep down, don't want to get to know their customers and partners on a personal level. Developing a relationship is essential to understanding what people want and how we can help them.
A Friend Who Forgot What 'Social' Meant
I was talking to a friend in business recently who felt overwhelmed by all of this social business stuff. They were using all the technologies available to them and growing in their understanding of it. But they were without a strategy to respond to an immediate need, and couldn't figure out where to even start.
"Talk to people who have had this problem before," I said.
"Through Twitter, Facebook, how?" was the reply.
"Pick someone, call them and ask them if you could take them to lunch. You know them, they are a friendly acquaintance, and they would probably be happy to help."
Surrounded by new media, we have forgotten how to be social. Many of us have forgotten that the relationships we build are what drives social business. And the quicker we can get our technology in place and our teams comfortable using it, the sooner we can start transforming how our businesses run so that people and relationships are the focus and the reason, once again, for what we do.