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12 December 2009

Dell B2B Social Media Huddle Part 2 - Community Matters

This is part 2 in a series of posts from Dell's B2B Social Media Huddle. See also: Part 1 - Trends.

Uncommon Sense in a World of Technology and Social Media - Steve Lamb (@actionlamb)

Steve shared some observations from his experiences within Microsoft, where he moved from a technology role into PR at a time when traditional PR is being challenged by social media. This session was all about the importance of community over tools and content. Here's Steve's presentation posted on Slideshare:



And here are some notes captured on the day. These were all shared in real-time on Twitter using Dell's hashtag #dellb2b.
"Don't obsess over tools, they'll change."
I see this a lot in organisations. A decision is made to introduce a new way of working and the first step is focusing on what tools to use. Often choosing to purchase 'enterprise-ready' tools in preference to leveraging free online alternatives. The first step is to simply get started. Because the tools keep changing and what works best today may not be so tomorrow.
"No matter how big you are, you cannot hire all the smartest people. Doesn't mean they are inaccessible"
This is a great reason to be using social media. No matter how big or small you are, no one company 'owns' all the best resources and often there are many great people willing to share their expertise online. The book 'Wikinomics' by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams highlighted this potential using Goldcorp Inc. as the case study. Goldcorp was a struggling gold-mining firm, whose fortunes were dramatically reversed when they looked outside the organisation for expertise in locating new gold deposits.
"Are you the company robot, the juvenile deliquent or (hopefully) somewhere in between?"
Steve talked about 'The Personality Continuum'. Some people will always sing the official company tune. Some people will always have something negative to say about the company they work for. But the reality is that most people sit somewhere between the two extremes. They talk common sense and will sound authentic to any audience. And yet often access to any form of social media is banned at the company firewall. Why? It's not hard to get around the ban. A low-cost 3G-enabled netbook or smartphone will do the trick. It's back to the trends in part 1 - if your external contacts (customers, competitors, partners) are using social media, why wouldn't you? A key issue seems to be a lack of trust in employees.
"listen, engage, be interesting, be useful"
Simple tips for businesses engaging in social media channels. Getting the balance right isn't easy and the only way to achieve it is to get started and keep learning. There are typically 3 human reactions: enthusiastic, hostile and passive (inside and outside the organisation). Can you afford to ignore any of them?

Coming next: Part 3 - The business case for social media

References:
Technorati tags: dellb2b | Social Media