I was asked the other day via a tweet what was my biggest challenge when managing social media. I shot back, “It’s the people not the platform”.
I’ve been thinking about that ever since. Was it the right answer?
You see, there are thousands of companies out there right now that are wanting to tap into all that makes social business sexy right now-Finding new customers, tightening the relationships with existing ones, discovering new channels of business oh and making money.
There’s just one problem. The platforms where social business may take place i.e., Twitter, Facebook, Blogs-They’re solid and the people that flock to them? Well, sometimes they are not. Which means if the employees can’t grasp the nuances of connecting on Facebook, can’t figure out how to leverage social relationships on Twitter or can’t figure out how to write a compelling blog post that will be shared and commented on-then invariably the problem isn’t the technology as much as it is the people using it.
The reality is that the barriers of social media adoption are so low that anyone in 5 minutes could, 1) create a blog and a blog post, 2) a Twitter account and a tweet, and 3) a company Facebook fan page. It’s too easy to start and it’s too easy to fail-which invariably leads to social efforts that fall flat. Largely it fails because the expectations are so huge and because they are measured against other companies that invested time, resources, and people first strategies and the platform last.
Start with your people first and build from there. People define platforms.