Business benefits of social media

If you’re the marketing or communications manager of a professional services firm, chances are you understand the business benefits of social media. The problem, usually, is winning senior management support unless you can show that the business benefits of social media activity are aligned with your organisation’s overall goals.

The problem is compounded by the fact that online and offline, it’s almost impossible to avoid advice from social media ‘experts’. And what’s frustrating about much of this advice is the disconnect with meaningful business goals, particularly for B2B businesses.

There’s not much point in your business posting four or six or ten times a day to attract ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ unless those followers ultimately result in business and revenue growth.

That said, many businesses successfully use social media. Small firms win customers from larger, long-established businesses and some businesses operate exclusively on social platforms like Facebook.

What’s useful about Kaylynn Amadio’s new book, The Boomer’s Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing is that the author explains the business benefits of social media for different types of businesses. She takes a travel guide approach to teaching social media strategies for Business to Consumer (B2C), Business to Business (B2B) and mixed businesses and provides a practical framework  to develop an effective strategy. She even going so far as to suggest how much time to devote to each of the platforms you use and the appendices provide information on how to set u[ your social media profiles. Amadio focuses on six platforms — Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus and Youtube — and, best of all, she backs up her advice with meaningful examples that business executives can relate to.

Networking and referrals have always been important for B2B businesses. In the digital economy, business conversations begun in one place — such as at an industry event — now often continue on online platforms. To keep up, senior executives need strong communications skills and, increasingly, these include social media skills.

If there is something missing from The Boomer’s Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing, it’s advice on how to deal with difficult situations online such as negative comments or trolling. There’s perhaps also scope to have included some tips on online reputation monitoring techniques. That said, this is a helpful and practical guide and, if you’re struggling to persuade your colleagues of the business benefits of social media, you could do worse than give them a copy.

The Boomer’s Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing by Kalynn Amadio is published by Maven House Press. [Disclosure: An advance review copy (ARC) was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review]

Charles Handy on the advantages of The Second Curve

Having recently embarked on a new career for the third time in my working life, I am encouraged by Charles Handy’s latest book The Second Curve — a collection of 16 essays in which the Irish-born social philosopher sets out his vision of how society, organisations and individuals will change over the next 20 years.

“The Western world seems to have gone into retirement mode, settling for a cautious life after the financial scares of the last decade, hoping that the comfortable life we had become used to will soon return if we only keep our nerve. The reality, however, is that we can neither bring back the past nor prolong the present indefinitely. When the world changes around us we have to change as well…”

Handy says many things that work today will not continue to work into the future and argues that now is the time to embark on a ‘Second Curve’. To avoid decline, he believes that societies, organisations and individuals must reinvent themselves. He suggests that the Second Curve is most likely to succeed when it starts before an existing growth phase has peaked.

Second Curve

He says that the Second Curve “is our chance to make up for any shortcomings on the first curve, to redeem ourselves and to show that we have learnt …”

Handy is not afraid to be provocative and challenges many prevailing attitudes. For example, he suggests that economic growth is a simplistic goal and favours a broader measurement system that would take into account flaws as well as successes and focuses on ‘enough’ rather than on ‘more’.

“Better not Bigger, says Charles Handy

“Better not bigger“  is Handy’s mantra. Indeed he goes so far as to suggest dismantling some large organisations into their component parts and he’s certainly no fan of the bonus culture:  “To me it seems demeaning to have to be bribed to do your best in your job.” He blames the priority given to shareholder value in the 1970s for creating a harmful emphasis on short-termism and says that if capitalism is to survive it must be seen to benefit all not just a favoured few.

Charles Handy The Second Curve
View details of the Kindle edition on Amazon

Handy sees opportunities for individuals who embrace the Second Curve by proactively reinventing their careers before age or ill health force an unwelcome change on them. By embarking on their second (or subsequent) curve before the first curve peaks, he suggests individuals can enjoy longer and more productive working lives. Indeed he predicts that self-employment will become increasingly prevalent as improved life expectancy prolongs careers well past the traditional retirement age.

Thoughtful and thought-provoking The Second Curve is a welcome addition to Handy’s existing work and a good introduction for anyone new to his social philosophy.

[Disclosure: The Second Curve: Thoughts on Reinventing Society by Charles Handy is published by Random House UK/Cornerstone. I received an advance review copy]