Where The Work Is Going

Vintage photography: at work

If you’re a social media type, the work is heading towards being embedded into everything else. It’s not less important; it’s more mainstream. The work you’re doing is becoming part of marketing, part of customer service, part of internal comms, part of the wiring of the business.

Yes, not everyone has embraced social media, and yes, there are two or so more years left for social media consultants to make some money helping people get their wiring in place. But it’s moving into being part of the fabric, not something exclusive and amazing. In several places, it’s already become that.

NPR reported yesterday that Barack Obama has millions (20?) of fans of his Facebook page, but that only 16,500 people “liked” his town hall speech at Facebook headquarters on Wednesday. Yes, the mainstream news is reporting on how many Likes the US president gets for various events he throws.

If this isn’t a sign that we’re embedding social media and that you’d best be doing social media AND ______, then I don’t know what is.

Embed

Be part of whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish instead of being the social media island. Be the marketing team, not the social media person. Be the sales person who uses new tools, not the social media sales person. Tell stories using the tools to grow business; don’t use the tools because they’re cool.

The whole trick of it is that the work is embedding in the larger picture. It’s not going away. It’s mainstreaming.

Bigger Business

The big thing big business needs is education on how to mainstream these tools into their processes. Listening to how smart companies successfully use social business gives other companies hope, but not the blueprint. The school bell has rung, but the students don’t have teachers who are methodically incorporating the social business tools into the fabric of corporate life in a meaningful way. This is a huge opportunity.

Smaller Business

To me, the big opportunity is weblocal: that web-to-offline-to-web-again experience. I think there’s so much that small businesses have to do to get further along in this space. Only 40% of US small businesses have a web presence at all. Most of those who do have old bannerware sites that don’t really satisfy their business needs.

And here’s the reality: I heard three guys at a local restaurant discussing the web. One says, “You know, they say you’re going to have a website really soon to do any business at all. There won’t be any business for people who don’t have websites.” The other two guys just laughed. “Yeah, right,” they said.

There I am, sitting next to three people who probably represent that 60% very strongly. Here I am thinking about the fact that no one in my building took a copy of the yellow pages when they showed up (lowercase, because there are so many versions of the yellow pages these days, and no one’s reading any of them).

There’s so much opportunity to help small business by going deep into driving results for them. It’s not going to be about “you need to be on Twitter.” It’s going to be about “Here’s how to get more leads, to nurture your prospects, to educate your buyers, to service your customers.”

Where Are You Going?

If that’s where the social work is going, where are you going? What’s your story? If you’re doing social media for a company right now, what’s changed lately? How do you see your role progressing?

And do you see it differently?

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  • http://twitter.com/prpeep Vanessa Williams

    I find, as a marketing and pr person who specialize in social media, that I am very much acting on my own, with limited support from staff. I don’t think this is correct, just reality. As social media adoption continues to become main stream, I still see a role in a specialist as technology will continue to change rapidly. Companies will still need someone who is hot on the trail of the latest and greatest tools and their changes to train and guide staff no matter what the purpose. I see many managers increasingly becoming victims of the the digital divide, and it concerns them very little. I however think there is a need for all generations and experience levels to interact and communicate on a regular basis and find social media the easiest and quickest way to do that. Knowledge is sadly being lost. Those that are participating I find to be some of the brightest people I know and I glean a lot of knowledge from them everyday.

  • MeatyMandingo

    Whats worse than being a social media-ite? Professional social media speakers who tell us about how it affects our lives. Get a real job!

  • http://www.bigjobsboard.com/ Brad Jobs

    The biggest opportunity is in marketing and web development. Social media has a lot of potential nowadays. Thanks for sharing this article. I learned a lot from such a direct article,

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  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    I think that it’s like blogging was 4-5 years ago: moving towards full integration in companies. As you noted in your post, I don’t think social media will be relegated to marketing or new media departments. It’s going mainstream, and the need for experts to teach the rest of the organization how to use this technology in their respective roles.

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  • http://matthewlbrennan.blogspot.com/ Matt Brennan

    I completely agree. Social media is about meeting your customer base where they are already at. But you need to talk with them, get to know them, interact with them. Offer incentives or reasons for them to participate in an offline way (i.e bring them into the store, or have them call.). When they find you offline, give them a reason to go back to the web. Make them active both places. This back and forth involvement will be the way to get people to truly buy into your business. It’s also why the integration of social media into the entire marketing strategy will be so important. Well said, Chris!

  • Anonymous

    It is a nice informative post. National Public Radio reported yesterday that Obama is like Facebook in his town hall speech last Wednesday, his Facebook page, millions of fans, but many.

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  • http://www.mikemccready.ca/blog/ Mike McCready

    My role has evolved into a Social Media Strategist.  I am working at embedding social communications at various levels of the organization and developing the governance, process and training to facilitate the decentralization of social media activities in the organization.

    I imagine my role will continue to evolve as the organization matures in the social space.

  • http://www.goingpublic.us/ going public

    Agree, social media is the one of the popular mean to meet your customer(virtually),according to my view point you need to make face to face meeting with them..visit them to your office factory brief them about business its process its incentive offer by you etc..all these things make them motivated and bring loyalty…..

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SUOTQPCIFKTOYDLQQR4XNYX5FI Lee

    There is nothing so special about Social Media that you can’t start doing it NOW. If you’ve ever had a random conversation with a stranger at a coffee shop, gas station, birthday party, or church, you’re ready for Social Media. No special programs needed.
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