Some businesses do now understand that adopting social media means changing their mindset on how they do business; however, I am surprised to see how many are still not aware what type of shift needs to take place, or are not willing to make the changes needed to succeed.
On a daily basis, I hear many excuses from CEO's and businesses owners on why they don’t want to use social media -- "It is too time-consuming; we don’t have the resources; we don’t understand how it’s supposed to help the business; social media is for teens and techies; we don’t enjoy it; we have no idea where to start." Do these sound familiar?
CEO's and business owners must understand the philosophy which drives social media. It is essential to first adopt the social media mindset by recognizing that the rules of marketing, advertising, public relations, and communication have changed. It is also necessary to be open-minded and make changes in the way you communicate with customers because the social media revolution will not be going away.
When deciding to incorporate social media in your business, using social media tools should be the last thing you think about (See the Looking Beyond Social Media Hype post). In order to experience maximum benefit from social media, the process begins with a complete mindset shift.
Here are the six essential mindset shifts that need to happen before a business participates in any form of social media:
1. The Relationship Mindset
Too many businesses are stuck on the idea that social media is about the tools of technology. They are letting the fear of technology stand in the way of using social media properly for business. There must be an understanding that social media is not about the technology; it only opened the doors for businesses to build closer relationships with their customers through social media.
It is important to create a social mindset for relationship marketing, networking, engaging, and collaborating. Relationships first, business second!
2. The Transparency Mindset
Many businesses are still reluctant to use social media because they fear the idea of being transparent. They feel that they will lose control of their marketing message by opening doors to brand haters who will leave negative comments on social media sites. Realistically, if you have any brand haters, they are going to talk about you whether you are on social media sites or not. It is also good to know what consumers are complaining about so a business can find areas of improvement that can potentially increase the bottom line.
Also, using social media opens doors to brand evangelists and influencers who will help create word-of-mouth about the brand. Transparency equals opportunity!
3. The Communication Mindset
A business must have an open mind to sharing and communicating online. There needs to be a shift from the traditional way of marketing (one-way communication) to engagement and collaboration (two-way communication).
Customers are looking for two-way dialogue with companies they do business with. They want to be more involved in the development of products and services, and they want businesses to show them that they care enough to listen to their opinions, thoughts, and ideas. After all, people are not engaging in social media activity to be sold to; they are there to be heard.
4. The Trust Mindset
Embracing the trust mindset is extremely vital for businesses. This is two-sided -- A business must be ready to build trust online as well as trust their audience with their comments, suggestions, advice, recommendations, opinions, and referrals.
Building trust allows a business to be more open to sharing. We never know who is listening to online conversation, or reading business updates, tweets and blogs. It could be the media, investors, potential partners, and prospects.
5. The Authenticity Mindset
The trust mindset takes us to authenticity. Customers want to get to know the human behind the brand. They want to do business with a person or people, not an object or a robot. If a business establishes a mindset of being authentic online, it will build more trust and credibility; thus increasing business results.
6. The Commitment & Consistency Mindset
Many businesses are jumping on social media platforms and not engaging, or avoiding using social media altogether because they believe it is a waste of time. If a business does not take the effort to do research and create a strategy, social media will be a real time-killer.
Commitment and consistency are two key factors which enable you to sustain business success. Taking the time to plan and put a schedule together is the only way you will be committed and consistent with social media. In addition, there must be a willingness to dedicate time to listen, learn, implement, and make adjustments, if needed.
Unless you make these mindset shifts, you will not be ready to use social media for business. Are you open-minded and ready to come up with creative and innovative approaches to engaging your online audience?