bridging the social digital divide keynote presentationBridging the social digital divide.  This was the theme for a keynote presentation I delivered this week at the iSummit and Florida Technology Journal event in Orlando, Florida.

The attendees were social business leaders, primarily consisting of business owners, business leaders working for both small and large brands. Also included were investors, and experts in crowd funding. They even did a “shark tank” like set of presentations where tech startup founders had the opportunity to pitch their product, service and business to a panel of capital investors and successful entrepreneurs.

This was the first time I delivered a presentation on the topic of “Bridging the Social Digital Divide” though it is something we help many of our clients with. It's a topic near and dear to my heart and mind as it is a struggle for businesses large and small.

It's ironic as we state social media is about relationships, communication, conversations, helping others, sharing information, inspiring people, empowering leaders and the list goes on.

However, when you really look underneath the covers you see a lot of people talking to themselves. They are talking to the same people over and over, day in and day out. Very few businesses leaders even know if they are talking to the right people.

76% of marketers think they know what their customers want. Unfortunately only 34% have asked them, according to a survey conducted by Pivot.

Talk To Yourself Much? 

social media talk to yourself muchWhat does this mean? This means that there is a whole lot of nonsense communication happening on the social networks. There is a lot of people talking to people just so they can talk to people.

The question is who are they talking to? Do they know who they are talking to? Or are they talking primarily to themselves?

Do they know what keeps their target and ideal client up at night? Do they know how they can help them achieve business and life goals? Or is it all based on a hope, wish and Facebook edgerank algorithm nightly prayer?

Sorry folks, but hope is not a social business strategy. There is no easy street, easy button or fast track to success in integrating social media into the dna of your business. By continuing to look for the easy road you are losing grip on the top goals and greatest benefits.

The same people who are looking for the social easy button are often the ones focused on engagement, for the sake of engagement, without knowing why they are engaging and with who.

Then they wonder why their budgets and teams are getting slashed, and they are not achieving business goals. It's because they have forgotten (or never fully understood) business and marketing 101. We see this over and over with businesses of all sizes.

Buzz is good, but it is not enough my friends. You must focus on the needs of your audience and your core business.

We're Leaving Out Entire Segments of People

By focusing on the wrong things we are leaving entire segments of people out of the conversation because they don't know the tools. They don't know the language.

The people being left out matter. These segments are filled with brilliant people who have a lot of knowledge to pass down to younger generations. The primary struggle is they don't know the tools and they aren't speaking in the same social 140, micro byte language of some of their younger counterparts.

Yet, we all have much we can learn from these people who are being left out. They can have much value, knowledge and inspiration to add to our lives and business. We must find a way to inspire them to engage and participate in a meaningful way that is comfortable to them. While at the same time we must continue to help internal and external constituents evolve, grow and learn about the new communication channels, when and how it makes sense for them and for the business.

Many social bloggers write about what to say, do, tweet, post, and pin. There are self-proclaimed experts writing articles on what words we should and shouldn't use when talking about business, marketing, technology, social media.

There is a focus on things that shouldn't matter so much and not enough focus on things that should matter. Check out this article for my thoughts on this topic-> “Quit Telling me What Words I Can't Use in Social Business

Why aren't we asking this….

  • How do we engage the c-suite in conversations in a way that they feel comfortable?
  • Why are we forcing the c-suite onto Twitter if it is not where they want to start when it comes to social media?
  • Why aren't we easing the c-suite & other segments onto the social networks via methods that they feel comfortable?
  • Why aren't we better using mediums such as audio, video, hangouts, to inspire and engage them?
  • Why aren't we creating more social assets via audio, video and more that can be leveraged with multiple audiences?
  • Why aren't we speaking to the c-suite in terms they understand such as customer satisfaction and revenue vs babbling to them how many new Facebook likes we have?
  • Why aren't we measuring results vs focusing only on buzz metrics?
  • Why aren't we investing time to better know our audiences, develop personas & figure out how to truly help them solve problems?
  • Why is buying fake followers and Facebook fans acceptable to some who preach relationships and authenticity?
  • Why aren't we aligning social to business goals and objectives where it can have the greatest impact?
  • Why are we focusing on the medium more than the content, context and conversation?
  • Why are we talking to ourselves?
  • Why are you talking to yourself?
  • Why are you more worried about your Klout or other influence score than you are concerned about connecting with your target customer?

We MUST get in the head of our target customer. We must get in the head of our communities, c-suite, executive stakeholders, customers, partners and colleagues. We must connect as human beings, not as influence scores and Facebook edgerank algorithms.

You can check out the entire slide deck below and on Slideshare here-> Bridging the Social & Digital Divide

“Bridging the Social Digital Divide” – Keynote Presentation Highlights 

1. We must acknowledge we have a digital divide. 

2. We must stop talking to ourselves. We must stop teaching others to talk to themselves.

3. We must look beyond the buzz metrics and truly align social to business goals.

4. We must stop pretending to be the life counselor for the depressed cat addicted meme. Enough already with the cat memes and the 24/7 inspiration quotes and flower pictures. Are you running a business or a counseling center for cats?

5. Stop worrying about your influence score and focus on real influence.

6. We must change the status quo from it being okay to buy fake followers and fans. It's not acceptable and a business of integrity shouldn't do such.

7. Stop faking it until you make it. 

8. Humanize your business today, not tomorrow. 

9. Think DNA, not tools. Get in the head of your customer. Integrate social media into the DNA of your business.

10. Leverage new media and old media to bridge the gap. Include audio, video and take those assets to new media channels.

11. Invest in engaging the c-suite and senior subject management experts even if they don't have the social media skills. Engage them in a way that they feel comfortable and can share their wealth of information. We are losing a generation of knowledge here if we don't address this problem.

12. Activate influencers. Brands must focus on influencers who's top goal is to give, inspire, and empower real human beings. Think bigger than monetization of people. Focus on people who want to do more than monetize, but instead are part of a bigger movement and who want to authentically engage and help people do more and be more.

13. Communities create markets, but only if we invest in the relationships and infrastructure. We must invest in both the relationships and the infrastructure to inspire them to become brand evangelists and /or loyal customers.

“Get Fit Social Business Series”

social business fitness get bootcampWe are going to help you begin to answer these questions and more in this new series, “Get Fit Social Business.”

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