The term social media has become fused with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
But that’s wrong.
It is so much more than those three social networking tools.
What Is Social Media Anyway?
Web 1.0 was about online delivery of information. It was static information on pages. It was one-way broadcast.
Web 2.0 is bidirectional, dynamic and about engagement. It’s vibrant with streams of information and conversations. Users pull the content they want into their personal aggregators.
Web 2.0 birthed social media, where users could become active participants in online dialogue. Users no longer were forced to read and listen to what a static website said. Users could now have their own say.
And they did. And still do.
Now if they don’t like what the organization is broadcasting on their website, users write about it on their personal blogs, in Facebook and tweet about it. They tell their friends about what the organization’s static web page says. They may “like” it. If they dislike it, they may dish the brand and its leadership. Or they publically complain.
And they wait and watch for organizational reps to respond. They expect to have a dialogue with those employed by the company in the places where they play.
Online Interactive Dialogue Equals Social Media
Social media is not Facebook. Social media is not Twitter. It is not LinkedIn. It is not ______________ (insert your favorite social technology tool here).
Anything shared online that enables a two-way, interactive dialogue is social media. It’s about the interaction and conversation that makes it social.
Today, everyone can be a content producer. Not just media. Not just authors. Not just organizations.
Anyone can produce a Facebook update, a tweet, a LinkedIn post, a blog comment or a product review. Some have their own blogs, write copy for their personal websites and produce video commentary. Some share personal photos, PPT presentations and research.
Today, we have the rise of user-generated content. And that user-generated content is usually shareable. People can respond to it. Some repurpose it. Some comment on it. Some broadcast it to others. It’s social media at its best.
Social Media Has Torn Down Corporate Walls
Social media and social networking is about being human. It’s about moving away from corporate speak and headquarters spin, to authentic, transparent communications. It’s about realness and showing the social self.
Social media is human content. It’s about sharing content generated by the people for the people.
Post a generic, corporate-sounding post on your Facebook page and you’ll lose credibility with the community. Distribute a typical corporate sound-bite, self-promotional tweet and your followers will probably ignore it. Ask an egotistical, self-serving LinkedIn question and watch people remove their connection to you.
Social has torn down the walls, forcing organizations to use systems of engagement, becoming more human in their connections and communications.
Today, Internet users want to connect to each other, people at your organization and fresh, relevant content.
The challenge for most organizations is that humanizing their brand means they must first humanize their business.
What barriers keep organizations from implementing social media internally in an effort to be more human externally? What are some of the traits of successful social organizations?