Having the right social media mindset

Anyone who knows me, will understand that, whilst I am passionate about what I do, rarely, if ever, do I like to preach one thing over another. That isn’t to say that I haven’t found myself apologising from time to time for one exhortation or another (yikes).

As a topic, I am quite sure that people are sick to death of hearing about social media. So much for a paradigm that prides itself on the power to earn attention by dint of worthwhile, remarkable content that ends up shouting the odds.

Of course, it won’t have escaped your attention that those people who shout loudest are usually self-interested in ensuring that their message is understood and adopted!

I haven’t been in this space as long as a number of my peers, but one thing I am absolutely clear on is that if you come to social media with the wrong, dare I say perverse, mindset, you will fail. And I don’t mean… fail to gain attention; but, over the long haul, if all you ever do is proclaim the import of one platform over another without looking at the whole – the people dynamic, resourcing, cultural barriers, adoption and measurement – then you will fall quickly into the box-shifting camp (my apologies to those people who still sell boxes but I hope the point is understood) as opposed to the solutions-minded entrepreneur.

Social media is much more than the sum of the social media platforms. It goes to the heart of the business:

  1. Servant leadership;
  2. Openness;
  3. Creating greater organisational trust, communication and honest dialogue up and down the management hierarchy;
  4. A democratisation of knowledge;
  5. Idea generation from all quarters that is adopted – remember the ‘Fail Faster’ mantra;
  6. Meaningful listening – not the usual lip service variety;
  7. And a genuine willingness to c-h-a-n-g-e.

My practice has from time to time involved the sticking plaster type of consultancy – a bit of training here or coaching there – but, fundamentally, I see my role not quite in the Troubleshooter mould but as someone who can shine a light on the areas of excellence that have the greatest potential to be leveraged. That’s gobbledygook for business transformation (more gobbledygook I know) – your cynicism is excused!

If I’m being brutally honest it doesn’t excite me half as much to talk about the nuances of LinkedIn than it does to get down in the proverbial weeds and understand what is the most pressing issue for the business, be that client/customer retention, winning work, innovation or managing change.

Right now, and not just because I say so, social media has to be seen as integral to the success of your business. You need only look at the carnage on the High Street (HMV, Jessops, Comet) to realise that any business that doesn’t have a foot in the on-line space is exposed to the risk of failure. If you do feel that now is the time to get (social media) serious then please don’t start with the ‘What’. Start with ‘Why’ (see Simon Sinek’s excellent Ted talk) and then the ‘How’. If not you will get lost in a forest of geek talk, and miss the point of social media as it applies to your business.

On a personal level, social media opened my eyes to a new World. In time, I will have something behind it rather than just a slew of platforms and lots of entries on Google. However, it’s my Givers mindset that has kept me in the game. If I had started out with a view that I was going to bug the living daylights out of people then I never would have started the journey.

Working with me

I am available for speaking, consulting and coaching on all things social media, excellence and brand you. Please feel free to email me at juliansummerhayes@gmail.com or contact me on +44(0) 7588 815384. You can follow me on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn,  Tumblr.

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