Thursday, October 7, 2010

How to Sell Your Boss on Social Networking

 I find myself giving this mini talk frequently lately, so I thought I would just formalize the talk:   "How to sell your boss on the value of social networking for your company."  It’s a 10 step “elevator pitch”

  • We used to get our news and information in manageable amounts from sources we trusted – the newspaper or the evening news on television.
  • Around 1985 the internet appeared and ever since we have had ever increasing amounts of information, to the point now, where most of us feel overwhelmed just trying to “keep up”.
  • The internet, with all of its options, created the “Me” generation – we want everything customized to our specific needs – Starbucks coffee, iPods with “our music”, designer everything – and most importantly for work, we want our information filtered to give us the most important news that relates to us.   RSS feeds initially allowed us to created custom web pages in our attempt to get the news that WE needed.
  • We are now so overwhelmed with information options that we don’t know what sources to trust—for example, you can go online to find a validation of almost any concept --  Elvis sightings on steroids. 
  • The paradigm shift:  We moved from having manageable amounts of trusted information in newspapers and television, to trying to find information we can TRUST in the mass of information on the web.   Trust is now the main commodity.
  • Social Networks provide the layer of trust to information.  Our online “friends”, people that we either know, trust, or feel that we share common values with, provide that trust.
  • In the distant past information was “pushed” to us from newspapers or television. In the recent past we “pulled” information from the web as we frantically tried to check emails, read blogs, follow our favorite web sites, and read multiple online newspapers. 
  • Social Networking is not a Push or Pull; it is a Sharing of information from trusted “friends”.  People that know us send us information based on their knowledge of us.   It’s like having hundreds or thousands of human search bots scanning the web for information that is pertinent to US—It arrives to us as links in tweets, facebook posts, etc.
  • Facebook vs. Google.    When you do a search on Google, a computer algorithm provides the same search results to everyone who posed the same query.   There is no specific knowledge of YOU, like a social network would have.  Now imagine that you posed a query to Facebook:  “Where is a good Chinese restaurant in Spokane?”  The responses from a social network would be far more customized to you—your "friends" would know -- do you value price, ambiance, quality, quantity of food?  PLUS you would trust your network’s opinion more than an algorithm—you could be more confident that it was not a search result that someone either paid for or manipulated with search engine optimization.
  • Social networks help you solve the information overload dilemma with manageable amounts of information from sources that you trust.

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