The business of being social

I’ve had many a discussion recently about B2B social media and how to pitch it. The discussion moved towards the way clients perceive social media as merely a personal medium and how removing the social aspect of social media can still leave us with great content and conversation. To be honest, I’m in two  minds about this.

FlockWe may choose a different manner to conduct a business conversation but should we remove all social aspects of an online personality for B2B communications? I’ve often found the most successful business development and account managers are those who connect on a personal level – despite the fact that the personal aspect may be helped by a well noted CRM database or contact profile.

However in a guest post on A Digital Perspective, the PR 2.0 team make a pertinent point “people are looking for answers, not necessarily friends”. In a one-to-one situation, the solution is easy – you can tailor your approach to suit the situation. In a one-to-many situation unfortunately this becomes a little more difficult.

B2B marketers are embracing social media, as indicated in the recent survey “Harnessing the Power of Newer Media Platforms for More Effective Marketing” (Daryl Pereira looks at this in his post). With 57% of those surveyed using or planning to use the channel, hopefully the business of being social has been considered in the strategy.

So where do you stand? As a client, do you trust someone who tweets about their haircut/househunting/hangover? As a provider, do you feel the need to keep things personal to truly engage? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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~ by mandi bateson on July 29, 2009.

5 Responses to “The business of being social”

  1. I think as humans are naturally social creatures, we’ve learned to adopt different levels of ‘personal’ – I can have such truly amazing discussions about guitars, and yet, never tell the person what I do for a living.

    Engaging conversations are engaging conversations – I think the ‘personal’ conversations can be both engaging and non-engaging.

    Great post.

    • Thanks Jye, I agree, I don’t think it’s possible for me to keep it strictly business but apparently not everything is about me. Go figure!

      I understand that not everyone is familiar with the idea of appropriate behaviour in a business environment but that just loops us back to issues with trust.

  2. Hi Mandi – this is a great post and I also agree with Jye – a lot of people like to connect on a personal level when they do business.

    And though I agree with your quote about people wanting business not friends, I think they want to be properly heard, understood & serviced by someone they are comfortable with and want to enjoy the interaction. It doesn’t mean they want to be invited to the family BBQ

  3. Oops – one more thing – we’ll see how Social Media shakes out and how people use Twitter, etc. in the long run – but these tools mean different things to different people and what might be to much information in some industries and large organisations, might be the perfect venue for smaller companies or smaller communities.

    You’ve got me thinking – and glad I considered a second twitter account for my business. That’s how I can differentiate between work & personal.


    • Indeed and not just how we use the networks but how they allow us to use them. It may turn out that to survive long term some networks need to allow users to have a dual personality (work and personal) in one profile i.e. how Facebook privacy and filtering settings can help

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