What you are not prepared to understand or accomplish you will neither understand nor accomplish.This is just common sense as someone recently pointed out to me. But the truth is, its not so common. Matter of fact, it is approaching rare especially in circles where it should be common…
The reason we are all where we are now is because we were prepared to understand the ways of the paths that led us here. For Doctors, they were prepared to put in the hours of studies, sleepless nights, and cast away the fear of dead bodies to be the Doctors they are today. Same with programmers, unless they were prepared to understand the painfully complicated coding languages, the fancy stuff we enjoy on our websites would never have been accomplished. And the same extends to every profession and practice. It is first through understanding that we can accomplish our goals and dreams. Isn’t that why we do research?
Well, social media has just made its way into town. There was not grand launch, there was no official invitation, it just crept in under the radar into our social lives and extended to our business lives. But that is where the conflict began. They say,
Getting better, making progress, is about preparing today for tomorrows trials.
But am not so sure because businesses have not taken kindly to the sneaky invasion by social media into their businesses. They have not yet understood that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to social media presence. And because they are not prepared to understand, they are not preparing grounds for tomorrows social media trials, and there will be many and from more demographic groups, not just the employees. Customers will be social, suppliers will be social, clients will be social and likewise, customer care will need to be social, CRM will need to be social, marketing will need to be social etc.
I cringe when I hear that a business especially one that falls in the category of SME has banned the use of social media by its employees. Their fears may be founded but their subsequent reactions unfounded. Social Media has come under heavy criticism by industry insiders who have cast it as a waste of time, a fad whose demise is long overdue, and a drain on company resources. And when I see these opinions splashed out on newspapers, I wonder, are we reading the same script, are all these materials on social media some grand global pyramid scheme, are all these big businesses turning to social media so daft, are we living in the same society, are the piling social media success stories written in invisible ink?
But then I figure that it is normal to fear what you do not understand. The tragedy now is what you are not prepared to understand or accomplish, you will neither understand nor accomplish. And by slapping a blanket ban on social media usage by employees on company time or even on their own time, you have effectively locked the door though which future business opportunities would walk through with serendipity not far behind. I can understand when big businesses in Kenya shun social media, it may be the arrogance of industry leaders from a different generation. But for SMEs, it is usually innocent ignorance that locks the door to countless benefits of social media for their businesses.
So to all SMEs in Kenya who are contemplating banning or who have already banned the use of social media within your organization, ask yourselves, is there another way to “contain” or use this social media? And once you open your minds to possibilities, opportunities will come rushing in, and you may even choose to utilize social media monitoring tools.
Basic research via search engines will show that SMEs stand to benefits the most from social media because without the huge marketing budgets of the big businesses, social media represents the cheaper, efficient and very effective marketing tool for them, for you. All you have to do is leverage it and this will best accomplished through the social networks that you and your employees already have but have not utilized. While the fear of people wasting time in social media channels is real, the way policies were introduced to guard email communication when it was the hottest thing in town is the same route to take with social media; introduce a social media policy that gives clear guidelines on social media participation.
And remember, in their respective times, the telephone and email faced the same resistance by the then industry insiders who used more or less the same concerns/excuses being leveled against social media today. Interestingly though, no business would survive today without the two and in the near future, the three.
What are your thoughts?