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The Social Ecosystem: The biggest barrier to success? Education

The biggest barrier to organizations being successful within The Social Ecosystem is simply the need for education. The lack of awareness, the lack of knowledge, is holding back many organizations. In chatting with organizations across the public and private sector I am constantly encountering confusion. People know the problems they are encountering. These are real, these are personal, and people struggle with them daily. However:

  • Organizations often do not understand that solutions exist for these problems.
  • Organizations often have the wrong information about the solutions that exist. As examples:
    • The recent report stating that Facebook has cost Britain billions. The article goes so far as to state “Despite the negative effects on the economy in the midst of a fragile recovery, many workers polled were in denial about the ill-effects of social media on their efficiency.” The assumption, of course, is that all time spent on social networks, or within social communities, is unproductive, lost time. Even if this were the case, which it is not, this kind of thinking should also go towards banning bathroom breaks, the possession or personal cell phones at the office, and, for those that are easily distracted,windows. I digress…
    • However, people often go too far the other way. There are no silver bullets, social business strategies, tactics, and tools cannot be used to solve every problem.

Alright, what are some good ways to educate people on the benefits of using social business strategies?

  • Find case studies that are relevant to the goals of the organization. While I have many case studies and interviews there are clearly others out there. The case studies should be for similar organizations trying to meet similar goals. Anything else will lead to confusion.
  • If your competition is using these strategies and techniques, point out what they are doing and try to quantify how that is differentiating them in the market, the value they are achieving.
  • Create a business case. Yes, a business case. People in leadership positions will take you seriously if you have done your homework. Put together a business case (my template is here) and present it professionally.
  • Share books on the topic, pointing to information from those who have done this for a while.

Understand, however, that there are some people that will not be convinced, regardless of the strength of your case. When this does happen you have a couple of choices. You can either accept that things will not change or you can move onto something new. Either way, if you try to make the case, providing the education, you have made a great start.


If you need help from The Lab, give me a call.

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Lauren Vargas

The education required needs to be approached just as any other business function training is required. The curriculum should be woven into the very fabric of the organization, mission, vision and business goals for successful awareness, buy-in and investment.

Lauren Vargas
Sr. Community Manager at Radian6