All businesses live in the full glare of social media. Do or say something a customer doesn't like and it will be shared with friends and followers. Do or say something wrong and it will be around the world in seconds.
We are all social now.
All but the professional services sector, it appears. That is, of course, an enormous generalisation - most professional services firms have engaging social media strategies.
But, as Heidi Taylor says in her excellent blog - www.heidi-taylor.com - it is not enough to just 'do social'.
Like all communications activity, there needs to be a reason, a purpose, an aim. Otherwise it is just more stuff.
Social media - for all its fluffy kittens, epic fails and 27 things you need to know about eating ice-cream in Wales - needs to be treated in just the same way as every other communications or business development activity. Seriously.
Embedding social within our wider businesses remains problematic for B2B and professional services organisations. Granted, a lot more of our people have been getting involved with social media across our organisations over the past year or so. But many still remain sceptical and even fearful of using it. It’s no wonder really, our organisations are highly risk averse, and social media feels risky. So we do social media training and create guidelines. We conduct social media ‘boot camps’ throughout our organisations, and many of us also have social media mentoring programmes. Some of us even have more formal ‘employee advocacy’ programmes. All with the objective of getting our people ‘on’ social media so they can become ‘employee advocates’ of our brands and help ‘push out’ our content. But this is the completely wrong perspective and it’s why we’re struggling.