Social has turned the corner from interesting to imperative. However, some business leaders are reluctant to explore how social might benefit their organisation. They believe that social media isn’t relevant for their organisation or that it’s just a “consumer thing” and only marketing needs to pay attention. They make statements that imply that social media is dangerous – statements which, upon examination, often reveal a misunderstanding of how all businesses are being changed by social. To poke a little fun at the topic, here is my top 10 list of Gartner’s “favourite” statements about social media. Hopefully, you won’t recognise anything your management says on the list. But if you do, it’s an indication that maybe they don’t yet quite understand the upside of social. We hope this list will make you chuckle. But don’t forget that underlying every statement is a perception that needs to be dealt with. The top 10 signs that your management just doesn’t ‘get’ social media are: 10. They start telling you anecdotes about how their children use social media, then start shaking their heads. 9. They get somebody to ghostwrite their blogs. 8. They ban access to social media because people will waste time or “someone might say something bad about us.” 7. They say, “Our customers are over 40, so they aren’t on Facebook or Twitter.” 6. They put a summer intern in charge of the social media ‘‘project’’. 5. They ask, “Why do I need input from social media? All the really smart people already work for us.” 4. They say, “Show me an enterprise that increased its revenue by using social communications.” 3. They don’t define the purpose, but want to try ‘‘something’’ to ‘‘see what happens’’. 2. They insist that every communication be approved before it’s posted on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, or other social networking site. 1. They think that creating a Facebook fan page is a social media strategy. Let’s hope you don’t hear too many of the above statements in your own company, but if you do, take the opportunity to educate yourself and the senior leaders in your organisation about how social media is being used to enhance interactions with employees, business partners, customers, prospects and the social Web. Search out good ideas, and adapt them to make them work for you. Tactfully remind senior leadership that this type of progression — from B2C adoption to B2B utility — has been seen before with e-business. Although Facebook started out as a consumer play, this and other public social networking tools are proving to be valuable means of communicating with business partners, customers and prospects. For example, the Queensland Police Service used social media to engage with the public and keep them informed during disasters. Don't fight it — business getting social is inevitable. Even if your enterprise is not actively engaged on the social Web, your employees are. Carol Rozwell is a vice president and distinguished analyst on Gartner's content, collaboration and social research team. To comment on this article, please email the editor.
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