Social Media has matured alot over the last 6 months, not least in the degree of measurability inherent in your online "presence"
With that measurability comes a level of credibility - you achieve that by ticking certain boxes, like filling in your social networking profiles properly, so people can "check you out" in their own terms.
If someone spends alot of time on Facebook, or it is simply their predominant route to their network of friends & acquaintances, then they will determine your "cred" by whether you post regularly, have a complete profile (some of which will overlap with their own life preferences), and basically show off the real you!
That measurability & credibility leads to Social Decorum, ie. "proper behaviour" online, such as interesting and/or helpful posts, not too much "me, me, me", responsive to approaches, conversational, basically a "participator". Everyone has their own standards that they judge you by - often boxed off and varying depending on the age sector you & they are in (as society goes, "twas ever thus"). If you tick their boxes, you "behave" to their standards, and they are then happy to include you in their world.
Key lesson to learn here is that we are talking about people, that's what “social” is all about!
People run, and work in, businesses, so we are simply talking about people approaching and connecting with one another, in a fashion that has never been available to us before. It's just networking, like we have done since the dawn of time, only today we use new tools - "Digital Media".
That networking is much more comfortable, on a human level, than "sales", "pitching" and "business development" but it still amounts to the same thing, if it is approached with a degree of Social Decorum.
As most of you will by now know, my primary thought leaders are Chris Brogan, Brian Solis, Seth Godin & Jim Connolly, and one thing they all agree on is that business is just "people business". Connect with people properly - don't shout, talk down, or spread viruses - and they will respond properly. If you just try to sell at them in every opportunity you are given, they will simply give you the online equivalent of two fingers (digits?) and unfollow, unfriend, block or whatever else works for them.
Businesses are starting to learn the great advantage being offered to them on a plate through social networking, as evidenced by this superb post by @briansolis.
Just treating people as fellow human beings, and connecting with them properly, affords a level of "customer profiling" that has also never been available to them before. This enables them to serve us better AND develop the goods and services that we WANT (and often will pay for!) and we are happy for them to do that, and happy to offer our opinion to them to assist the process.
That surely is what a connected world should really be about, because, once you achieve Social Decorum, you are already well on the way to building Social Wealth, where everyone on the planet benefits, and gets a little closer together at the same time. FairTrade is but one example of this.
Am I making sense? What do you think?
Howard J Moorey
January 7th, 2010
Howard Moorey advises businesses, organisations, and individuals on how to use social media and social networks to build relationships and deliver value.
You can reach him at: howard at hojomo.com
or catch up on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter
Home is where the heart is: Cotswold Hills, UK