I recently read a post by Jay Baer about Google+ where he acknowledged that it had a fighting chance in gaining some social network dominance.  The whole article was well-written and you should check it out, but he said something at the end that jumped out to me.

I’m not predicting the death of Facebook (or even Twitter), but smart companies will spend some time this summer making sure they’re focused on how to BE social, and not how to DO social on a particular platform. Because eventually, the tools always change online.


Absolutely LOVED this!  Because in the end social media is not about the tools used, but about the culture needed to actually make those tools work toward your advantage as a business or even personal brand.

So what does it mean to BE social as a business?

Humanize the business.  We all know that it doesn’t run itself.  Who are the faces that make it up?  The personalities?  The culture?  Help your potential customers to get to know you – and vice versa.  Talk about stuff that might interest the reader (and no, it  is not just your product/service).  The goal here is to grow this new relationship – and you can’t do that by only talking about yourself.

Relax a little and let your hair down.  Even if the business culture is a little starchy based on the industry (i.e. Financial planning or accounting for instance – those are definitely not fun, but I may be biased) a little dry humor or wit can go along way into making the human side of the business likeable.

Be transparent and honest.  If you screw up, that’s o.k.  Acknowledge your mistake and take steps to make it better.   Don’t hide from negative press or irate customers.  Face it.  Use the golden rule and try to make it a win-win for everyone.  While some people can never be pleased, at least others give you credit for your attempts.  If you you’re going to do something, do it.  Give people a reason to trust your business.

Doing these 3 things will give people the basic foundation of a social relationship – to know, like and trust your business.  And no matter what platform or social tool you use, the people will follow.