When is social media relevant to your organization?

I had the opportunity recently to co-facilitate a three-day planning session with Della Smith (who I am proud to call my colleague, mentor and friend). The participants for this session were a diverse group of smart professionals who sit on council as well as the organization’s senior staff.

One of the components of the session was a short overview on social media that Della and I presented to the group. It was very interesting. This is a field that hasn’t really embraced social media as much as some others and I have to admit I had some concerns about whether or not they would find it of interest.

During the session they were engaged and interested and asked some valuable questions about how it could pertain to their day-to-day business lives and how social media could benefit their profession. It was an interesting session and one that brought it home to me that the entire world isn’t as far along in social media as we may be as communicators.

Over the three days, individuals in the group would come up and ask me questions about social media. They were definitely thinking about what impact social media could have on their profession. One of the council members told me that while he knew a bit about it, that our session had provided him with the opportunity to view it in a business context and that he hadn’t seen it that way before. Prior to our session, he thought of it as a place where his kids went (Facebook) and where you hear about what people had for lunch (Twitter).  By putting social media into its rightful place – in the toolbox for communication – we helped to put it into perspective.

I think that putting social media into perspective is important. Knowing what the right tools are, when to use them and what context to use them in is very important. Social media doesn’t replace other communications tools any more than TV replaced radio. And it’s important to put social media into context – as a component of your overall social media strategy.

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