generation s engaging the social bridging the social divide

It is no longer a specific demographic of people who are using social media. We have grandmas, grandpas, millenials, Generation-X, Generation Y, Baby Boomers and everything in between.

Welcome to Generation S, the social generation. It is the only generation in which people choose to become part of the generation, or not.

Brands can no longer say “social media is for young people,” or “my audience is not on social media.”

IDC predicts there will be 1.3 billion mobile workers by 2015. If this number doesn’t wake you up to the reality and importance of embracing the always on, connected and social customer then you should read it again and again until it does.

The truth is that Generation S brings together generations. Grandmas can now communicate with grandchildren in a way never possible. Brands can now connect with their customers and target customers wherever they are, anytime of day or night.

The reality is also that Generation S is leaving behind entire segments of people. People that spam Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and even Millenials.

Engaging the Unsocial

The top question we here from our clients is “how do we engage the unsocial?”

Brands big and small are struggling with engaging the unsocial. Marketing leaders have a challenge of bridging the social divide between a generation who has yet to adopt the social technologies and communication medium and those who have embraced it fully.

Often times it is the unsocial segment who are the greatest subject matter experts. They usually have knowledge others need to learn from, experiences to share and proven methods that can help clients, partners and the larger ecosystem solve problems. It’s unfortunate that most marketers don’t know how to bridge the gap.

Quit Selling The C-Suite on Twitter

Many marketers come to us frustrated they can’t “sell their c-suite on Twitter or Facebook.” It’s time to quit selling Twitter. Quit selling Facebook.

As I have always said, focus on the business. Align social to business goals where it can have the greatest impact.

Focus on integrating social media technologies and social business strategies to bridge the gap, not create another one.

If you have an executive stakeholder who has no interest in Twitter or Facebook, continuing to sell him or her on the social network platform is not going to help them become more social. The chances of it pushing them further away from the thought of embracing social media are more likely.

Engage the Unsocial via Methods they are Comfortable

Don’t force the unsocial onto Twitter or Facebook. Instead engage them via social communication mediums they are more comfortable with. Think about most business executives. They most always like talking about their experience. They like talking about their business. They like sharing information and helping others succeed.

Many are comfortable in front of a video camera and almost all are comfortable on a telephone. Why not record a podcast? How about a video? How about a Google Hangout? A webinar?

Engage them in the conversation. Help them create content via methods comfortable to them that can be consumed by Generation S. Remind them that social is about human to human connection, not robot to robot or direct mail piece to trash can.

Create a social asset that enables them to be engaged in the conversation without having to learn Twitter overnight. We have done this with our clients time and time again. What happens is the unsocial executive begins to see the real power.

The marketing leader can then use the video, podcast, recorded radio show, Google hangout as a social asset that can be shared with the social generation, Generation S! It also opens the unsocial eyes, heart and mind to the possibilities available with social business. They see the tweets, comments, feedback.

If the marketer is doing their job they will see the measured return, the opt-ins to the email list for more information, the leads, and further steps toward achieving the business goals chosen.

Social media is not a band-aid for a broken business or a tool to force the unsocial onto a network they don’t know and care nothing about. It takes both art and science to bridge the divide and often times more art than science. It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s humans you are dealing with and you must treat them as humans, not robots.

The best thing you can do is acknowledge the divide. Embrace it and make it a goal to bridge the social divide from the C-Suite and beyond. Ignoring it or hoping and praying your c-suite is eventually going to fall in love for Twitter is not a strategy.

Bridging the Social Divide – C-Suite and Beyond

I am a featured presenter today at the IBM Connect event in Orlando, Florida. I will be speaking and training on tactics to bridge the social divide. If you are at the event come join the session at 5:30 pm et. If you are not at the event, follow the hashtag #IBMConnect. I’ll also be posting my presentation later this week.

We’ll also kickoff a series of conversations on this topic on our #GetRealChat Twitter chat in February. #GetRealChat meets every Tuesday night at 9pm et on Twitter. If you are new to Twitter, it’s a great way to learn real-time.

Check Out These Two Sessions Today at IBM Connect

Bridging the Social Divide, C-Suite and Beyond
Time: 5:30 pm et
Location: Swan 7-8, Swan Hotel
Session #: INV109

Debate: Does Klout Matter?
Should Klout be used by HR? Do influence scores matter?
Participants: Join Andrew Grill (former CEO of Kred, now with IBM), Mark Fidelman, Jeanne Meister, Matt Ridings, William Tincup, Louis Richardson and myself for a live debate.
Time: 1:00 pm et
Location:
Social Cafe, Dolphin Hotel

 

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