RIM/Gist, LinkedIn, Salesforce.com/Jigsaw, your CRM account, Outlook, iPhone, RenRen, Kaixin001, Twitter – and we are only putting our digital toes in the social business morass. Where is home base? Many business users of social networks and social media are looking pretty frazzled managing their contacts, synchronizing contacts, communicating on all of the correct channels, sending feeds, receiving feeds, subscribing to alerts.
The miracle? In certain parts of the world – ok, the majority of the planet, business is not relying on the next Facebook Connect or Google business network, and sales still get booked.
I am not the first one to note that many users of social are feeling queasy here. The interesting inflection will come if and when we have a return to a sagging economy. Currently we are in a ‘rising tides’ scenario where everything is beautiful and money is flowing in IT and the line of business. What happens when we take the ‘metrics pen’ out and start asking the hard questions about the value of any of these investments of dubious value.
How long does the argument hold up that: “Boss, I saved a lot of money in the short term compared to the last software we were using!” Are you selling more as a direct result? Really? How do you know? Are you comparing success after factoring out positive change in the economy in your sector? The answer is NO 100% of the time. Don’t trust me: bring me proof that I am wrong – and bring me convincing proof, not Pixie dust.
Employees are investing gobs of time ‘communicating’ and ‘engaging’ and ‘listening to the community.’ Not every economic scenario is kind to NavelGazing 101.