Thinking_Out_Side_The_BoxAfter talking to many business owners and I.T. Execs here in my area, I’m convinced most don’t understand or see the change that is taking place and think Social Media is a waste of time, a fad. Most are bottom-line thinkers and there must be a result for ever action taken, an immediate return on investment. They say I don’t have time for that sh*t! It puzzles me how those who think in these terms consider themselves Revolutionary thinkers, Visionaries in their respective fields. It would seem to me that this is the ultimate oxymoron. These individuals understand bricks & mortar better than most but they struggle with the soft side of what’s happening with Social Media and refuse to believe that it has any influence on the bottom-line.

How could it be that these brilliant minds are missing the shift, unwilling to accept that their roles will be obsolete as they know them. The argument is valid, someone must do the work, and, someone must be in charge, well, sort of. The Executive(s) that understand we the people are going to tell him what and how things will go will win, he must listen and listen hard before making a final decision. I’m not saying dismantle your hierarchy right this minute, I’m saying prepare to allow for a flattening of management and an empowerment of your staff unlike anything you’ve planned for in the past. Open yourselves up to bringing strategic I.T. and Social Media consultants (thinkers) in to help guide and wade through this new environment, this new era of Social Media and what it will mean to you and your business. How 50 Billion Dollar Marketing Dollars will go to firms that are smaller and can move faster than the bloated organizations we know today.

There will still be a need for large ERP systems and the like but they too are changing, as we move towards Virtual Reality and Nanotechnology, these environments are being built via the Cloud today rather than in big rooms with SANS and mainframe like servers. In the future we all will be wireless device’s, we will integrate with technology, in some ways we already have, manual processes will disappear in such a way we won’t see it coming. This isn’t fear mongering, this is asking you to look outside of your four walls and take notice of what’s really going on with technology, spend time looking ahead and consult with those who can help you see what you can’t see now.

I.T. Exec’s – The Time Is Now! You may even be too late in some circles, much needs to be done and you need to get started if you haven’t already. Don’t do things in a vacuum or you will stay inside your four walls and try to use old thinking to get you of your Executive Box. I know most of it seems logical but trying to put an ROI to conversation(s) is confusing at best when you try to get there using traditional equations. There are some sharp people who can help you and you must be willing to allow them to lead you through the maze, if you are looking for someone in your area let me know and I’ll get you connected.

I could go on and on but I think you’re getting the picture, get outside the box and ride the wave rather than be whipped out by it!

imagesLike a Business Plan or an I.T. Strategic Plan you should know why you are using Social Media Networks. Most businesses are oblivious to this marketing phenomenon and really don’t understand it’s value. The challenge is that when someone asks what it is, they talk like it’s a bunch of friends getting together for coffee and chatting it up. It’s more than a water cooler. In my opinion, FaceBook has cornered the market on catching up with old school buddies but it really hasn’t figured out how to be more than a playground for old friends on recess. Just my point of view, you may feel different about it.

If you think you have to have a large business to enter into the Social Media arena, your dead wrong, all you need to do is build a plan, then you will experience it’s true value. Despite what you may think, it’s not about advertising, positioning and jockeying for the #1 spot on Twitter Grader, that isn’t the goal. Google does this already but doesn’t tell you their secrets on how they control who gets ranked the highest. If you don’t plan the use of this new marketing environment you will waste time and wonder what happened, you’ll wonder if it wasn’t a distraction from you current goals and objectives. You will eventually use those tools as one way to measure your standing but you will be planting a banyan tree so don’t expect an immediate return on your investment.

So what’s am I talking about?

Let’s assume you have a business plan and you actually sat down and built an I.T. Strategic Plan, which one does the Social Media Strategy fit into? Truthfully? It doesn’t fit into either, it should be in your Marketing Strategy, unless you’ve decided to build your own Social Network, build a team to run it and build the infrastructure to support it, only then should it go into your business plan as a way to promote and develop brand. I’ll also assume you have a good understanding of the fore mentioned plans, if not, go study them before you start down this trail.

Building a large following is not as hard as it may seem, it does requires time & effort, it also requires a carefully crafted message to ensure you obtain reach that will generate activity and eventually revenue. So, your vision should be more about how you will use it rather than making it an entity all it’s own, where will it fit in the marketing strategy and what resources will it require, how big will it be and who on your team knows anything about it? Do you need to hire a consultant to help you incorporate Social Media into your marketing efforts? The questions are many and there many of us that can guide you to a sound plan in using the likes of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the great many others.

First Steps:

1.) Review your Business Plan

2.) Review your I.T. Plan if you have one

3.) Build a team to work with a consultant

4.) Hire an outside consultant to walk you through the need for Social Media Marketing

Wading into the Social Media Environment doesn’t have to be difficult, get help and build your plan. Until next time, be good, if you can’t be good, be yourself 🙂