Steven Gradidge. Hi :)

Social Media Is Like A Garden – Nurture Nature and See It Flourish

Posted on: October 5, 2011

It has been a month since I moved into my new house and for those who have had to endure the same torrid experience will know that it is by no exaggeration, a living nightmare! At first everything feels strange and unnatural as though you don’t belong in the place you have most likely just put a small fortune deposit down for. For the first few weeks I kept reminding myself: ‘I will make this home’.

A month on and it is now home. Furniture assembled. Plants watered and broadband aplenty. It took time but now I can quite happily call it home. All except the garden that is.

To set the tone (and to save some time) the garden looks a shithole. Through no fault of my own I’ve occupied a garden with a condition that can be best labelled as ‘catastrophic’. With mouldy walls and weeds nearing four foot in height, it is fast becoming THAT scene from Jumanji. I could draw the curtains and pretend what is happening outside isn’t. The neighbours would look on in disgust which would no doubt seriously damage my hopes of receiving the ‘neighbour of the year’ award. Alternatively I could do something about it. And I plan to.

This is how I feel a lot of businesses and business folk think of social media. They are looking at it from with a view that it is noise best left ignored and shuttered out from existing marketing and PR efforts. Social Media is still by no means a matured entity on the web, highlighting its promised longevity in giving people a represented voice and opinion online. This is a great thing for business too, so why are still so many ignoring SMM and failing to enjoy the benefits it could bring to both themselves and their customers. Business decision makers can’t pretend it isn’t happening anymore. Businesses need to realise that they can’t ignore the platforms people (and most likely their competitors) are using to communicate their opinions and displeasures. Not only do they need to use them but they need to use them better than their customers by delivering real value. Timely perhaps, but well worth the effort.

Often my clients have been told the wonders of social media without knowing where to begin. I often start by telling them that it isn’t easy and should by no means be used as a quick fix. But over time your networks will grow and flourish with the ripest of fruit. The kind of fruit you want in your garden. The fruit you are proud to have reared and produced from your labour. It is an iterative process with lots of learning but what makes it so exciting is that networks/gardens never stop growing and will always require care. Maybe this is what businesses are afraid of but as consumers, this helps us see those trees in the forest. We can see those who are making an effort and those who are not.

Any business or organisation can use social media. Approved Business, the B2B Business Directory are using it to great effect on LinkedIn to keep all of their directory members in the loop of site updates and movements.

The Gym Group are using social media to promote and tell people about there openings at: Gym Bournemouth and Gym Swansea. Potential gym members are asking existing gym members for advice and getting personalised recommendations without the need for The Gym Group to muscle in (pun totally intended). In spite of The Gym Group being mere gate-keepers of a totally organic, self-fulfilling and self-sustaining network, they benefit from being silent participants of the conversation.

Three Mobileuse Twitter to answer customer questions in an attempt I suspect to relieve pressure on their phone lines. Not only do they lower logistical overheads but customers get a quicker and more personalised response on a platform they are comfortable using. #WIN

So please business folk, get involved and become socially savvy in business. Rejoice social media. Enjoy it. Make friends and maybe most crucial, don’t be afraid to be creative.

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