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It is quite amazing in 2012 that any company would ignore the online market. Billions of people are online interacting every day. It is well established that business is widely carried out online, harnessing the social platforms. Billions of  Dollars, Euros, Yen changing hands daily online.

Popular Reasons for not Engaging

Why would a large section of business ignore this?

  1. Fear.
  2. Embarrassment.
  3. Mistakes.
  4. Negative comment.
  5. Lack of understanding of the channel.
  6. Not having completed research into their own customers online behaviour.

All of the above, are BAD reasons not to investigate a Social Business model for your business/organisation. Is this incompetence?

I agree that is a very strong word, but to answer my own question, I am unsure.

Related: Transform Your Online Presence – From Woeful To Wonderful

What will standing still achieve?

How many among us still drive home to turn on our VCR tonight, use a non-digital camera, make a call on a Brick mobile phone. Listen to music from a vinyl record on a turntable. What office has an old cartridge type writer or receives telegrams. What office environment communicates by paper memo . How many golfers will pull timber shafted clubs out of their golf bags this weekend. My point is, innovation is all around us in every day life. Items like the old VCR were revolutionary thirty years ago, now it is obsolete.

Related: The Holy Grail of Online Engagement (In 15 Steps)

It is impossible to stand still

Some of the examples I use above were iconic inventions and thought to be the cutting edge of their technology. Try and give your new sales rep a Motorola Brick and watch the reaction, not going to happen. Darwin’s survival of the fittest theory is played out in life and business every day, particularly in the technology sector.Items such as the old film camera were in every house. Now they are obsolete, twenty years ago, who’d of thought.

Fear of Embarrassment or Mistakes

These are not best practice solutions for any business development strategy. Fear is something we have to over come every day. In a survey of the Top 500 CEO’s in the US last year, two interesting stats emerged.

  • The first was that CEO’s were worried they would be found out i.e. not capable of doing the job they were employed for!
  • The second was the overwhelming feeling of helplessness in the face of the digital technology tsunami.

This does not excuse them from postponing their decision to engage online and on Social Platforms. Most of these companies have the resources to engage consultants to educate and help them strategise their entry into the Social space. These CEO’s defense can not be, I did not realise or understand…..well if you don’t, FIND OUT.

Related: The High Street Needs To Go Online

For the Play it Safe Management, time is running out.

Last week I asked, will business lose interest in Social if it doesn’t start delivering to the bottom line?. This week I am asking, when are the C-Suite executives and management going to start losing their jobs for their failure to innovate? Those playing it safe due to fear of change, will run out of time and the new smart bright kid will come and take their jobs. As shareholders and company owners ask, why are we not following the lead of all these other companies and developing and online social business strategy.

As part of that development, companies management are expected by the online community to engage personally online. Social Business does ask for new skills from management but equally the basic business model still applies. Most companies need to take their offline business model, refine it and bring it online. The online engagement is an extension of the offline conversations, companies are already having with their customers. Add is a sharing mentality and the only difference is that the world can see those conversations. All business’s should learn how to make new mistakes.

So is it incompetence?

Well kinda yes and kinda no. It is more about human behavioral problems. Bury the head in the sand or ignore it, it will go away, which can be viewed as incompetence. Time is running out for business and organisations that continue to ignore Social as a business opportunity.

Fear of change will kill companies, Kodak springs to mind, they didn’t embrace digital cameras despite one of their employees inventing them. Innovation will side line companies, like RIM, the Blackberry just got shafted by the iPhone and apps. That’s what innovation does but fear atrophies and kills companies.

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Image: “Businessman doing his up most to avoid the business day by burying his head in the sand/Shutterstock

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