Steven Gradidge. Hi :)

Issues Of Aspiring Social Businesses

Posted on: January 13, 2012

Many businesses will claim to have a ‘social strategy’ of some sort. They might be tweeting, seeding the occasional Facebook Page update or writing the odd off-the-cuff blog post (*cough*) and this is about as far as their strategy goes.

As soon as businesses begin venturing onto the International seas of social media, they realise that becoming a social business is not easy, cheap or quick to do so. They also quickly learn that it takes more than just a Twitter and Facebook account to be social. I mean, would you turn up to a party and decide not to talk to anybody? Of course not, so why are so many aspiring social businesses ignoring messages deserving a reply? Anti-social bastards.

The simple fact is not all aspiring businesses will succeed. This will not be down to resources (budget, staff, content) or knowledge of the platforms. Nor will it come down to internal wranglings between marketing and legal (structure) teams over what is and isn’t acceptable. It will come down to one thing and one thing alone; culture.

How I see it is culture is an infinite set of ideolgies a group of people share and abide to. These ideologies (beliefs, ethics and opinions) are what give people a node of connection. These nodes are shared agreements between a particular bunch of people connected to that node. Without these nodes, relationships simply wouldn’t form and a central understanding wouldn’t be ascertained. Culture is about everything we do in business as it concerns customers and clients.

In the world of social media marketing (SMM), it is the attractiveness of these nodes that entice a Twitter or Facebook user to follow your business’ profile. You might have a kick-arse marketing team filled with talented marketing individuals. You also might have a deep marketing budget in the hope to throw enough spaghetti against the wall in the home something will stick. You also (luckily for you if this is the case) might have a market leading product/service that dominates headlines within the media. Do any of these apply?

The brutality is that culture can kick the shit out of strategy, it PR for lunch and crap over high flying budgets all day long if you do not share the same goals as the people you supply to.

The latest racial rows with Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra (Football!) have been labelled by a difference of culture, with one coming from South America(Suarez) and the other coming from France (Evra). Despite what Suarez saying being extremely stupid, I believe this was down to a mutual misunderstanding of culture and misaligning values. Words were spoken in the heat of the moment but have since been reviewed and punished by The FA.

Now if we consider Suarez as a business for one second, how many people would follow his Facebook Page or Twitter account? It is impossible to say of course but most likely not those willing to follow Evra’s!

The value of approach has never stood higher within business marketing with the arrival of SMM but existing practices are highlighting business do not value it in the same way as customers do. This indicates a clear difference of culture and an indifference of company/customer goals.

Not all businesses are socially savvy. Not all business want to be either and in this case, should not be sent any party invitations until they buck up their ideas!


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