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  Social Is About People

Social networking is built on people. It requires a hospitable approach to connecting people, recognizing them, involving them in conversation, and sharing what is important to them.

Social media is the raw material upon which we network. Social media is WHAT we share online. Social networking is the fuel that gets it shared, talked about and turns it into an influential asset for your business.

Who speaks for your company?

Social media really is a business revolution in the sense that it is a complete reversal of who speaks for an organization. Instead of the people in a business taking a back seat to the defined messages, tag lines, logos, and promotions of the mother company, the people within a company speak for the business and represent the brand through their minute-by-minute online interactions that can't help but be delivered through their own unique personalities.

Companies and brands that don't put their people out front to be the brand and identity of the company are being completely ignored. No one wants to hear from a faceless company anymore. And by faces, we mean the people that make up the brand.

Because of this, the biggest brands in the world, despite buying audience reach, are having the toughest time making the connections needed to be successful with social, while the small businesses that have little more than their people to put out on display are doing surprisingly well.

How to put people in front of your brand

It starts with freedom, expectations, guidelines, and a plan to work together.

  1. Freedom - open up your networks so your people can connect with people where they are at - on a variety of social networks and cloud services. If your people can't access the online places where your resources, partners, clients, and supporters can be found, how can you be a social business? Most often blocking certain websites is lazy and heavy-handed IT administration and it can be very costly to your business if it is not thoroughly considered with business goals in mind.
  2. Know Who You Are - The people in your business need to know very clearly who you are and what you are about as a company. What are the shared personal values of your brand, not your mission statement. Knowing who you are as a company will help you to hire the right people for your business and it will guide those on your team to represent the qualities and priorities that you wish to build your business on.
  3. Be Consistent Inside and Out - To be open, transparent, helpful, supportive and welcoming to the outside world you wish to connect with, you also need to be those things to each other within your company. The personality that you will be known for will be known inside your organization first.
  4. Policies Help - Having a company policy around the expected use of social networks for company purposes helps keep everyone on the same page (resources down the rabbit hole below).
  5. Trust Your People - For your people to be authentic, helpful and real they need to have the autonomy to be themselves and talk in their own natural manner. If you don't trust your people to represent your brand, you have a trust problem, not a communication problem.

"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou #quote #AShareThing

A photo posted by Sociallogical (@sociallogical) on

Not Everyone Is Ready For This

I think we all know people that just aren't comfortable using social networks and connecting with others online in this way. It's not an issue of knowledge, it's an issue of culture and interest and, sometimes, of fear. It will take time for culture to change, inside your company and outside, in such a way that everyone in your business that you hope will connect online feels comfortable connecting online.

TIP: Make sure that the first people that connect on behalf of your business are people with a strong sense of HOSPITALITY who understand the benefits and goals and are excited to participate.

Putting people online who aren't comfortable with it will reveal their discomfort and that is not positive for any brand. Be patient with these people. You hired them to do a job and they're doing it well.

Allow them the opportunity to assess and make peace with the significant changes in their world on their own terms. Allow your changing culture to help those people figure out where they fit or where they're forced to fit may not be a benefit to your brand.

Trolls, Hostilities, and Undesirable Behaviour

It's not news to anyone that there have been negative social effects created by social media and there has been a lot said on the topic. The world is now online and talking openly with each other. That has never happened before!

There are protections, recommended methods of dealing with trolls, filtering undesirable content etc. We've included a few recommended links on these topics in the Deeper Dive below, but when you decide who you want to be as a company and what you are going to stand for and what voice your brand will carry, you consider who you will attract.

You will also target people with characteristics that are likely to lea to appreciation of your brand so risk is limited. But overall, let expert methods and a professional manner rule the day instead of your emotions. Most of us will be fine if we follow that recipe.