A couple of weeks ago I delivered a social media masterclass in to the amazing team @mhshomes a master class that I have delivered to many conference delegates and also organisations over the past 18 months. Its a masterclass not driven by textbook theory or fancy graphs and diagrams, but a real life authentic account of my journey and how I began to use, still use and continue to use social media as a core comms channel for work.
I haven’t got a qualification in social media, but what I have got is experience, results and the most important bit – the skill of understanding how to be social.
The team that attended the class @mhshomes was hugely varied from the CEO, Exec Team, Customer Service and Comms; but here’s the thing, and here is why its so authentic – it doesn’t matter what fancy title you have after your name, it doesn’t matter how old you are, it doesn’t matter if you have never used it before – social brings everyone together and opens up conversations that would not have been on the table before – Ask yourself – would we ever have got @AshleyHookmhs searching for GIF’s containing lycra!? (I advise you not to conduct this search!) #NSFW (Not Safe For Work)
One thing I also labour, not only in a masterclass but EVERY day, is the commitment to interact and engage after the event, take a look at #socialmhs for how this is actually working in practice over two weeks on.
There seems to be a call for all of our well-being to embark on detoxes, a need and desire to remove ourselves from what enslaves us day to day; be that ridding yourself of the Yorkie bar you may snaffle at 11am, the beer you sneak in on a Tuesday night on a bad week, or the one of the moment – the Digital Detox.
You may find it laughable if I state that I think a digital detox is a good thing, but believe me when I say I have a life offline; I value down time with my family and friends; I value and cherish the time I have with my wife and children and I don’t jeopardise this for a digital presence.
However; we need to get over this obsession that being connected via digital is a bad thing, that it takes over our lives, that it makes us less human, that it means we can’t switch off and enjoy ‘normal’ life.
We have to accept that the world is different. We don’t work how and where we used to, the world is a much more agile and flexible place, and this is down to technology and the ability to communicate digitally. This approach to agile working also needs to find new ways in how we build our teams, the old approaches of a chat over the kettle whilst making a brew just don’t work anymore, so whats the answer?
A digital solution – not instead of, but aswell as. A day to day digital solution that gives teams the ability to stay in touch between #IRL (In Real Life) meetings, the ability for them to continue to build upon relationships already created and continue to forge that all important team morale.
We should also start to see social media as a credible internal comms tool, not something reserved for a few groups of people sharing #LoveIsland catch ups, but as a tool that acts as a window to the organisation. With agile working accessibility can be a challenge; use social to show your teams who they are working for, who their leaders are, and what makes the people in it and the company tick;
I mean, would team @mhshomes know that @AshleyHookmhs did open water swimming?
Would team @HaltonHousing know that @nickatkin_hht daughter is the next singing sensation?
Would team @optivohomes know that they have a @chrisfroome in their midst with @nicks1212 being the next cycling superstar?
And @NottingHillHG would they know that they have a budding @ottolenghi chef in their midst with @KateDaviesNHHT whipping up a storm in her Saturday kitchen?
We have to accept that stopping an interaction of any kind be it digital, #IRL, phone, letter, whatever the medium, it will have one result, and one result only; the conversations will stop.
They wont stop completely; but they will stop with you.
Its a well known fact that the most common theme of any relationship breakdown is that you stop communicating; maybe its time we revisited some old values with new traditions?
In complete contrast to the digital detox obsession, we are equally obsessed with becoming ’digital by default’ but we can’t seem to commit to this beyond the historic legacy of what we deem core working hours. I for one am confused. This confusion I suppose is an example of where we find ourselves with companies and commentators that want to be digital by default – but only Mon-Fri 9-5, ok ok maybe Mon – Fri 8-6. @PaulBromford wrote a fab blog on this https://paulitaylor.com/2017/06/20/what-does-your-social-media-say-about-your-organisation/
One of the biggest fails that companies and people do on social media is that they broadcast. One of the main themes on the masterclasses I deliver is to learn and really understand the importance of engagement. This is what gives real value to a relationship or service, when people take the time to engage when its not of a transactional nature, such as collecting a rent payment, or reporting a repair. Your customers find value in the feeling that you are interacting with them when there is nothing in it for you. This demonstrates your authenticity and in turn will build your army of brand ambassadors.
Lets not forget what we personally look for in companies or people we want to build a relationship with:
- honesty, integrity and someone you can trust
There is no better way to demonstrate that than from your own teams or customers. #justsaying
It’s no surprise that my favoured platform is twitter, but this isn’t about twitter or LinkedIn, this is about any channel. We need a multi channel approach (on and offline) that works for you and yours. You have to focus on the content and the messages, and if you really want to make a difference learn to listen with your eyes.
I for one wont be publicly signing off at 5pm tonight until 9am tomorrow or telling you at bang on 5pm on Friday that we will be back at 9am on Monday. I don’t need to categorise my customer interaction as urgent or non urgent. To me you’re all as important as each other and I look forward to our continued chats about work, but also the other stuff that makes us who we are.