Earlier this week, Social Media B2B posted The benefits of social media in the B2B workplace. The article has been re-tweeted 75 times at the last check suggesting it has proven useful to quite a few people. But the advice is incomplete. Here are a couple of examples of the benefits outlined.

Increased Channels of Communication

Simply having more channels through which to communicate is not a benefit unless you use them effectively. Respond to one customer via Twitter or Facebook and you will set an expectation for all customers. Do you have the resources to meet that expectation? If not, your reputation for failure will spread faster and wider than any positive feedback. Before you start increasing those communication channels, make sure you plan and budget for the resources required to manage them effectively.

More Collaboration = Better Outcome

No it does not. It might lead to a better outcome but increasing collaboration does not guarantee any benefits whatsoever. A simple example: How many people attend meetings that achieve nothing? That’s collaboration without an outcome. There is an excellent book on collaboration called… drum roll… Collaboration, written by Morten T. Hansen. The book argues, in great detail and with plenty of research, that bad collaboration is worse than no collaboration at all. And then goes on to outline the steps you need to take to ensure that more collaboration does lead to better outcomes.

To benefit from Social Media requires more than simply adopting the tools and techniques of Social Media. It requires discipline. And that includes knowing when not to participate. From the book Collaboration, most failures boiled down to two mistakes: Overestimating the potential value from collaboration and underestimating the costs.

So back to the two examples and what to do:

Increased Channels of Communication

Every organisation should look into what channels of communication its audience use and ask the simple question. If your customers are using that channel, are you? And if not, why not? If you decide to participate, think carefully about what resources you are prepared to invest in to make the participation work. If your resources are limited, be transparent about it. The more human the response, the better the reaction.

Increased Collaboration

Read the book! 🙂 But, in short. Take a disciplined approach to collaboration. Identify where better collaboration can improve outcomes. Identify what barriers are currently preventing that collaboration from taking place. Identify what investment is required to enable better collaboration and overcome the barriers. Decide if the investment is worth the potential outcomes and, if it is, do it! Equally, identify where collaboration isn’t leading to better outcomes and stop it. Reduce those unnecessary meetings…


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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Joining Dots. Joining Dots said: New blog post: Social Media Requires Discipline http://bit.ly/bD2xO4 why realising the benefits is not simply a case of 'doing' social media […]

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