As we learn to live in this new, disconnected world, where – like it or not – social media and all its variants is what defines a large part of our interaction with others, we need to ask and answer some serious questions.
- How can we stay connected?
- Really connected?
- And, how can we be sure that it seems like we care about being connected?
There’s more than one world of social media
First, a note that “social media” in the context of Working Sandbox is something more than what you probably think of it as. It’s not just Twitter and Facebook and Instagram. It’s also your company’s SharePoint site, whatever instant messaging system your firm uses, and your LinkedIn business network.
All of that stuff, and more.
So while you may or may not enjoy getting updates about your uncle’s fishing trip via Hootsuite (maybe you think Uncle Pete should be just picking up the phone and giving you a call to tell you about what he fly-fished instead of your having to figure it out from his vague status updates) – the fact is that whatever company you work for – whether you work entirely remotely or also spend time in an office – a large part of your communication involves some sort of collaborative or social technology.
There’s personal social media. And there’s business social media. And they’re not really all that different.
You’d better make it personal
And you’d better make it personal. All of it.
Business communication that isn’t personal tends to get forgotten about pretty quickly. The hard-nosed middle manager at your office might pay lip service to keeping meetings on-topic and keeping emails about projects terse and stripped of the usual niceties of more casual communication. But terse email and meetings that never go off-topic tend to be forgettable, and honestly sort of drain the morale of the project.
The people you work with want to know who you are. Whether they admit it or not.
And if they don’t want to know you, then they should – because you’ll all get more done when you have a personal rapport and you know each other.
What works for your co-workers, works for your customers
But if your co-workers need (and appreciate?) the personal touch during project work, then your customers need it (and demand it!) even more.
When was the last time you saw a customer gushing with enthusiasm about your company after you dryly quoted a policy to them?
When was the last time a boring and generic (lacking any personality) tweet or status update went viral among your customers?
But if you make a personal connection with a customer, they’ll remember. Then your business becomes personal, and it becomes something your customers care about – because they feel like you care about it yourself.
Social media. It’s gotta be social in the true sense if it’s really going to matter.