This post continues my series, which began with  “If  You Don’t ‘Get’ Social Read This.”  The series focuses on clarifying some popular misconceptions about Social Media, and spotlights some of the trends and perspectives on social business as well as strategic approaches that can be used today.

This post discusses the importance of bringing the heart of your business into focus in order to achieve a true social presence, mindset and behavior.

One of the problems faced by those in social is that the general population, although very familiar with social networks at this time, do not fully understand how to function on a business level in this new frontier OR see it as something more foreign than it actually is. Many people understand that there is opportunity in social, yet admittedly do not know where to begin to understand uses of the various tools available to them. As social businesses we face challenges in finding ways to reach our clients, and we seek best practices to help us.  At it’s core, social is simply an extension of human interaction. It is the closest thing to behaving with values that business has seen since the “old days” of small towns, and family shops.  Yet, the idea is so basic, many get lost in jargon, marketing, and in some cases fear and ignorance.  There are currently 5 mindsets in the general population on social, your clients fall within these groups.  The truly social business will fall only into one.

Social Perceptions – The 5 Mindsets

1. Those who are “too busy” to get into social.

Famous quotes:
“I don’t have time for social”
“Social is all about socializing and posting updates about what you’re eating or doing, we are too busy for that, we’ve got a business to run.”
“I’m a people person, I don’t like computers, social is all about computer stuff – we don’t do business that way, and neither do our clients” (- they say as they toy around with their iphone, or read reviews online for their next vacation.)

2. People who got onto social due to business peer pressure but have no idea what to do with it other than set up their account and accept link requests.

Many of these culprits are found on Linked In and Twitter and they are completely unaware of how to use the tools for the professional reasons they got involved. They can often be identified at a glance due to lack of bio’s, headlines, and many of them look like eggs. Would you do business with someone who looks like an egg? Because of their lack of understanding, they seem to evaluate the power of social based on their poor results. – Missing opportunity.

3. The student generation

Using social for purely social purposes, having a fantastic time tagging photos and making videos. This mindset is not restricted to students, it also includes anyone who is in social and using it for total social sharing but has not understood the business value because of their environment. An environment that uses social for pure unprofessional social interaction or gain. Nothing wrong with that! Social business would not have evolved if not for this very response to social media dynamics and connection. These people get it, they just haven’t realized the business application – that social in business is just an extension of the human connection.

4. Companies and individuals involved in online selling without social integration.

I’ve run into many who say they are on social, some very proud of their blog or site, yet absolutely no ability to share, or interact. they think social means being on the internet. Blogging or posting deals with no integrated possibility of social sharing or interaction. These folks are on the cusp of making it, because they’ve actually invested in some sort of set up, however they stopped once they pushed up their site. They need a light to show them the way.

5. The revolutionaries.

People seeing the opportunity in the fact that their clients, potential clients and new contacts are all on social on a personal level, and therefore strive to develop business operations that function in unison with the social environment driving what is now emerging as the social business model.

The revolutionaries are the people out there, talking, meeting each other, blogging, sharing, and jumping into the online world without boundaries – cutting past the red tape, the boxes and limitations- seeing beyond the “why we can’t” and leaping into the “why not?!”

Realizing the world is interconnected on a different level now, that consumers matter, and businesses need to be where they are. That the voice of one, is as powerful as the voice of a thousand, and that every person counts.

How to become a truly social business: Start at the heart.

One of the core necessities for a business to break into the social sphere and start to interact with individuals (the people in #3 above) is the ability to realize that your brand is just like an individual. Your company, your brand has values, and goals, and beliefs. Your brand has a personality. A personality that can interact with individuals, one that all the members of the organization should understand, respect and reflect.

The true value of social for a business does not come by selling online, it comes from an internal corporate understanding of who your organization is.

An understanding that shines through in your actions, your reactions and the behavior of all those who represent your brand. It’s not something that stems from one department, but something that is part of the entire corporate culture: a united stand.

To come back to the good old days of business, that would be known as honor, reliability and value. Today, these are the true markings of a social business, and these are reflected in every area – not just online. Social businesses are just like people, those who are consistent and balanced are evident. In a social business, all areas, departments and roles join into one united persona – bringing the heart of your business into clear focus.

Who are you?

Where is your mindset? Is your business one of the revolutionaries, united by mission and value and ready to meet the challenge? Do you seek to build your community around you? Or are you too busy to put the time in to communicate and build bridges to work with your employees, departments and customers? Too busy to care about what matters to them?

Where will you start?

Will you be the revolutionary?

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