I’ve been enjoying the quality of conversations taking place on Twitter between myself, Gahlord Dewald and Matthew Shadbolt. Others have joined in as well, but these two have jumped heavily into the mix in recent days. Yesterday, our conversation was initiated by Derek Overbey and resulted in Gahlord writing a rather lengthy post entitled, Social Isn’t A Strategy. He accurately points out in the post that “social is a resource.”
I agree. And it’s not even close to being “the answer.”
Because what is also true about social is that social’s complexity makes it difficult to describe in short sound bites. Analogies often fail us.
Social is indeed a resource, but it’s not like most resources. Social is also a mindset. Talent is a resource, for example. But talent is not a mindset. For this reason, the companies that have been successful in integrating social resources into their business strategy have done so because they have also understood that the mindset of their business, their culture, needed to align with the culture of conversation that defines the social space.
Social is a mindset, not just a resource.
Big or small, many companies are simply not prepared, culturally, to take advantage of the social resource. Why? Because this resource requires that the entire company culture change, not just sales or customer service. Without a broad shift in culture, a shift in mindset, social simply gets relegated to a narrow channel and becomes about technology.
And technology isn’t a strategy either.
Gahlord Dewald says
Great post and conversation Jeff. Identifying culture change as the primary requirement highlights why there is a (mis)perception that small orgs can do social better–Small organizations tend to change their culture easier.
Jeff Turner says
Gahlord, no, thank you. This speaks directly to your comment on twitter, “Large orgs can be very nimble, even if they tend not to be. Nothing inherent in largeness that prevents nimbleness.” Large corporate cultures are just harder to change.
Amy McLeod says
And don’t you think adopting “social” for you company mindset requires knowing who the customer is that you want to serve? Too many want “anything and everything” as their customer, making it impossible to be properly social.
Jeff Turner says
Amy, yes I do. You have to know both who and why. And what’s really needed at the corporate level is a culture that embraces the potential for a better conversation, internally and externally. You’d think that would be welcomed, but you’d be wrong. I’ve sat in too many board rooms where decisions have been made to go ahead with a “social” strategy, but with no commitment to the changes necessary to properly utilize what Gahlord referred to as their “social resource.” Instead, they put social into it’s own silo and go about their business. It’s a recipe for failure.
Rachel Rusnak says
Great post, Jeff. Memories of Cluetrain Manifesto popped into my mind as I was reading it.. Awesome post, awesome topic!