The term "social media" is tired, in fact all the terms that float in the space are stale - that's because they've been beaten into the ground and stepped on by many who have no business - none - abusing such beautiful - and meaningful - terms.
Conversation, connection, social Web, engagement, interaction, reaching out, partnership. Half the time, no make that three quarters of the time, these terms are being abused, taken out of context, invoked in vain.
Stop this nonsense and start thinking a little. I get it, you're enthusiasts, you need to move "consulting" inventory. It's really ugly out there. There are so many other words you can choose from - like providing a service to your customers, being helpful (yes, a new fad), aligning your business to the people it serves, inside and outside the organization (that does include the real partners).
Try civility. Customers are lost through rudeness—to less effective but more civil competitors. Top employees are lost by the bushel in rude workplaces—even if such workplaces offer great technical opportunities. Whose presence do you value? Show them you care. They might turn around and trust you, next time.
Caring, being civil, providing a service, these are not such new concepts, are they? Hold on to those thoughts as you'll need to remind yourself about those nice attitudes (all that soft stuff) when you think about the reason why your customer outreach programs are failing miserably.
Your database is stale. That's the really hard stuff, the numbers you can produce at the drop of a hat. Yet today, you have no idea where those people formerly known as actual names, titles, preferences, buying patterns (if you're really good), are today. In your system, they became fields, or codes, or simply a record to be pulled, rented, or built.
If technology is in constant flux, so are people. When we talk about social media, what we really mean is making those necessary changes or adjustments inside your organization so that the business is more responsive to its customers. Today, an organization has less to go on when it comes to culture if its employee base is in constant churn on top of that.
That's because technology is only 20% of any enterprise change, the other 80% is culture, process, roles, and strategy change, writes Owyang. And that's why the people part is the critical piece to come online - a more powerful database is not going to self populate with real customers, even when it connects with the newest and most hyped technologies.
To the likely critics of tools - show me the money, show me alternatives. How do you scale showing and enabling opportunities? If I didn't have this blog, I would likely speak with a couple of people every day, you wouldn't have a place to comment in and think out loud with others, and nobody would be the wiser as to what kind of learning we could do together. Same with Twitter, I wouldn't be moderating #kaizenblog, or collecting #twittertales and meeting you on the basis of your content, or project preferences.
Now that we got that out of the way, let's think for a moment about the power of actually having a way to embed remembering people, their story, their contact with your product and service, their contacts with each other and carrying on that relationship starting from where you left off last time.
Putting the public back into relations is a good idea regardless of whether you may be proactive about heading off issues. Good communications inside and outside organizations are a must.
Your database is stale. What are you going to do about it?
[image from Salesforce.com product announcement]