Like so many items that deal with the new world of social media, the idea for this post came from random events. The first was trying to come up with a topic for a forum on social media I’ll be moderating in a few weeks. Since I met with the same business group last year, it was a perfect time to ponder “what’s changed?” The second came from reading The Seattle Times article on new media that confirmed the explosive power of online media. And the third came from a random comment from the specialist who tested my eyes on a whole array of machines at the ophthalmologist. Hint – he also happens to own a restaurant.

So what is Phase II in social media adaption? I believe it’s when you stop Phase 1 – studying, learning and complaining – and start doing. Sad to say, I find way too many organizations stuck in Phase 1. And it’s going to have a serious impact on their future.

The Times article profiled several successful special interest and community blogs/websites in Seattle – everything from the Crosscut to the West Seattle Blog. All are building loyal followers, growing and doing the types of communication our major media outlets used to do. If you are in Phase 2 in social media, ask yourself three questions about the sites profiled:

  1. Are my current and potential customers coming here?
  2. Could I provide them with content that fits their audience or become one of their resident experts?
  3. Would an investment in a page or link sponsorship or advertisement help me test out social media and get results I could share with management?

And the third idea from the eye specialist/restaurateur was this. He has utilized his website, Facebook and Twitter to build his fan base and communicate with customers. His revelation? All comments made to review site Yelp go directly to his i-Phone so he can respond to them quickly. Think about the message that sends to employees and customers. Earthshaking? No. But how many other restaurant owners do you think are using it to react instantaneously to customer complaints? So action steps for embracing Phase 2 of Social Media?

  • Accept it
  • Embrace it
  • Plan it (as a part of a multi channel strategy)
  • Use it for engaging customers and in workplace communications