Todd Jordan (Tojosan), presented the third idea for a post I solicited on Twitter this week. It comes at a very good moment in our customer conversation at FC Expert blogs as today I am discussing a few things your customers have learned with the help of social media. Until two weeks ago, I had no idea that this tool would open such conversations and opportunities for me so I'm curious to learn what you think.
We throw this weighty question out there just when some organizations are cautiously dipping the corporate feathers into blogging. Vaspers the Grate posted 7 reasons not to Twitter, how about some positive reinforcement for those of us who work inside organizations? I admit I was quite skeptic at first. With a self imposed grueling rhythm of posting here, at Fast Company, and other online publications, I thought I could not spare one more minute of my day on social media.
Twitter is an interesting tool. Imagine you have an advisory council who will give you feedback on things that are of interest to them (note the emphasis on *them*). Then wrap around that concept the thought of community. And voila', you have some sense of what the advantage could be. How you employ this force is up to you. Let's build on the list of points Vaspers provided as potential objections and explore some possibilities:
- If you don't like to see your message buried by other brands and companies, stay relevant. That's what pundits mean when they suggest to be part of the conversation. What can you add that has value to your readers? When I see the wealth of intellectual capital inside organizations that gets no play I wish I had clones of myself to get the downloads where they matter -- in the hands of the people who have the intention and power to make something of it.
- Speed counts for something. Speed reading for example leads to better comprehension. Speed thinking may lead to less censoring during the creation time so the ideas have a fighting chance to be fleshed out some, if not by you, then by others in the stream.
- You don't always need to be the smartest or quickest reply in the space. In fact, being a great facilitator with the knowledge and experience to further an idea through conversation and solicit the right type of input can be more valuable.
- Ah, my favorite -- brevity has a place. Get your idea out simply. What it is, what it does, etc. More words don't make it better, they just complicate it or worse yet, bury it. Raise your hand if you've read a corporate statement where the lead was not buried in the last paragraph or somewhere on page two. Yes, I too thought brevity could not be done. I survived just fine.
- Relative anonymity may be good for business, especially to build relationships on a peer level -- no baggage good or bad, just two people having a conversation. Sometimes the brand stands in the way of innovation. If you're curious about this, or have examples to offer, I'd love to hear your take.
- The truth is nobody really makes you do or share anything that you are not prepared to do and share. That was one of the biggest revelations I had with the use of social media.
- And maybe, just maybe, you find a way to get your creative juices going once again -- this time you have the chance to ask the community what they would like to read about/buy/test. I know many companies do this with their customers, that they keep an ear to the ground and a pulse on the marketplace. This is one more outlet, one with less filters if you get out of your own way.
Your customers are becoming more and more comfortable sharing more than just their opinions online. They've been researching products and services and are now happily finding alternatives that fit their needs. Do you really want to ignore the ways in which they may express their opinions about what you offer?