Having spent three years developing a web based offer for businesses, a few amateur observations on social media (from someone who has received more advice from “experts” than I can care to mention).
In a parallel life, I happen to run my cycling club’s website. We have just 120 members, and you have to be a paying member to participate in any of the forums. One of the latter covers the issue of the organisation of indoor turbo training sessions (don’t ask!). Remarkably the forum has 42 comments, many going into great detail on things like heart rate zones and power meters. The discussion string has also been visited 1,100 times. If you don’t believe me click here and find out many strange things.
Now take a look at the IOD’s website (and really I could be talking about any large business organisation, so it’s not a criticism). I’m not a member, but I gather they have over 40,000 members who think highly of the IOD and pay to join. If you check out a series of blogs (advertised on the home page), all on quite interesting stuff, you’ll find the sum total of 3 comments since the end of last year. Go to the IOD’s Youtube video channel and you’ll find 101 business videos. Most are high profile subjects with high profile people, eg” IoD Chief Economist Graeme Leach welcomes the Coalition Government's first budget” (2010: viewed 299 times). Typical viewing levels are between 50 and 300…..and a view can be a glimpse don’t forget!
I purposefully signed up to 10 (seemingly high volume) Linked In “CEO” groups, but nothing ever happens of value. I feel like I’m wasting time, that I don’t have.
As an aside, and not surprisingly, you can see some quite high volumes of activity on social media sites that are aimed at start-ups (and pre start-ups). The behaviour is more akin to what you see in my cycling website: enthusiasm, opinions, meandering discussion.
So, does social media (or business social media as we call it internally!) have a place beyond another form of marketing or recruitment activity? Logically it simply must have. Using online platforms and technologies to provide guidance from multiple sources is fast and efficient………but a complete turn off if it’s not relevant to YOU.
I think, if business social media is going to work for busy people in busy businesses, it’s got to answer increasingly specific issues and do it on a credible on demand basis. That’s expensive and hard work, and its precisely what we are trying to do at Knowledge Peers. Please join us for the ride.
Chris Dines, CEO, Knowledge Peers