Don’t be afraid to experiment!

13 Jan 2011 by Randall Helms, 1 Comment »

social media omelette
To make an omelette, you need to break eggs

Although most marketers by now understand the value of social media to their work, many other professionals remain skeptical about the value of applying social media to areas other than marketing.

Social networking, that’s just what people use to slack off and not do their jobs, right?

Wrong.

OK, not completely wrong, but perhaps one of the most common misconceptions is that social media is a combination of an internet fad, a productivity sinkhole, and a load of marketing hype, without practical use for business purposes.

To be honest, it is all of those things, but it is also much more.

How so?

Well, because social media is not any one thing but a set of tools that connect people so that they can more easily share information, ideas, etc. Some of these ideas are good, some are bad, but, as such, there are still many social media tools that can assist a business to achieve its goals.

As an example, let’s say that you want to improve your internal communications as part of a corporate reorganization campaign. Instead of presiding over a flurry of emails, most of which will remain unopened, why not use a social media solution?

There are a number of social media tools that allow businesses to better engage their employees process whilst also making it easier to keep track of the conversation. Possibly solutions include setting up an internal social network such as Yammer, or simpler approaches such as private message boards or blogs hosted on the company intranet, to using external methods such as a private LinkedIn group.

The beauty of social media is that there are specific tools to suit everyone, no matter what they want to achieve or what kind of resources they have to devote to the project. If you want to start a conversation within your organization about what path to take going forward, you can do a lot worse than to consider using social media as part of your approach … after all, social media is all about faciliating conversation.

As with any set of tools, social media can be used productively or to waste time – it is a matter of defining in advance what you want to achieve and then being willing to experiment in order to find out what works best for you.

Don’t just have a Twitter feed because everyone else has one.

Don’t set up a Facebook fan page because it’s the “in-thing”.

Do your homework, work out what seems to be the right approach for you, and then implement with an open mind. Don’t be afraid to fail, and don’t be afraid to try new things.

After all, you can’t make an omelette without breaking an egg.

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