BEYOND “BORING” TOOLS – Why Innovation in Social Is Just Beginning

by admin 27 Nov 2012 Social Marketing@Scale, Social@Scale: Business Executive, Social@Scale: Content Manager, Social@Scale: Social Media Manager

So Chris Brogan, New York Times bestselling author of The Impact Equation and Trust Agents, thinks that social media is now boring?

“It’s boring to talk simply about the tools because the tools are just a way to reach people. We can argue the details endlessly (I don’t believe much in Klout, for instance), and we can announce the premature death of Tumblr/Twitter/Facebook and whoever. But it doesn’t matter. When we talk about restaurants (the tools), we mostly talk about the food (the content). When we talk about bands (tools), we talk about whether the music resonates (the content). When we talk about a good book (the content), we never ask what type of computer it was written on (the tools).”

I couldn’t agree more.

How did talking about social get boring? Maybe it’s the feature hustle that so many platforms and tools are engaging in. Or that companies and individuals think they ‘get’ social now and it’s just about measuring. Newsflash: the innovation has just begun.

Social enables us to experiment with traditional business to optimize and evolve – not just alter company messaging or add a media channel, but change actual business.

Social isn’t a formula of activity across social channels. It’s an on-going 24/7×365 strategy that relies on the cross-pollination of channels, platforms, tools, divisions, functions, content and audience. Yup, it’s that big.

It’s not just about some social team. Rather, it’s a new way to do business across the entire company, even across several companies. If you talk to most social teams at companies, they usually see themselves as champions of a startup, revving the engine of the enterprise to partake in the forever conversation that will sustain their business. But sometimes the enterprise tries to drive the startup. Then it’s about the media mix and the campaigns which reduce “social” to social media (channel) or social marketing (division and/or function) – not social business.

Before anyone groans about social business, please don’t. That revolution has barely started – and it’s going to take all of us to ensure that we keep it alive until it actually takes. In fact, most companies who claim to be social businesses really just have a collaborative internal network. They may engage in social, but they still haven’t changed the way they work together or the way they work, period, based on what they learn from social.

Applying the restaurant/band/book metaphor that is quoted from Chris Brogan’s article above to my love of guacamole – Chris is saying it isn’t the tools (the pestle and mortar) that customers care about, it’s the final content (the guacamole). But I would argue that saying content (the guacamole) is what really matters oversimplifies the outcome, which is the perceived value of the content (the taste of the guacamole).

Any chef will tell you this doesn’t just come down to palate. The human algorithm determining perceived value constantly fluctuates based on the ever-changing weighing of the quality of the ingredients, the restaurant, the actual dish, the chef, the cuisine, the restaurant ethos, etc. In light of this, you have to have the recipe (strategy) that makes the ingredients (channels, platforms, tools, divisions, functions, content and audience) come together just right.

But I digress. Yes, social got boring, but there’s too much to do, to change, to inspire and to aspire toward to NOT try to reinvigorate what we all saw social bringing to business in the first place. What are you doing today to help bring this bigger vision to life?

Elizabeth Closmore is VP of Strategy + Partnerships for Sprinklr. You can follow Elizabeth on Twitter @ebclosmore.

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