Learning about how to use social media depends on the reference point and knowledge the learning is grounded in. Today the market seems consumed in following what others are doing and creating “benchmarks” of what is or isn’t working for the current market. While it may seem that this is a good basis from which to learn it may in fact be the wrong basis to build knowledge aimed at creating innovation. After all innovation is something you create from knowledge and doesn’t usually come from existing practices that others are following.
Business.com — the Web’s leading ally for busy people interested in making more informed and effective business purchasing decisions – unveiled results of its 2009 Business Social Media Benchmarking Study. Based on insights from 2,948 professionals across North America, the study provides extensive information on how businesses and business people use social media in the workplace.
Both companies and employees are scaling a massive learning curve with social media.
- The average company in this study was planning, developing or running seven different social media initiatives; 65% of respondents staffing those initiatives, and 71% of companies themselves, have less than two years of experience with social media for business.
- Building brand awareness and brand reputation are two of the top social media success metrics, but nearly two-thirds of companies focused on these metrics have little to no insight into performance via standard or easily accessible reports.
Notice this statement “the study provides extensive information on how businesses and business people use social media in the workplace. Both companies and employees are scaling a massive learning curve with social media”. Information put into proper context can lead to knowledge. However information about how businesses and people use social media today may not be the right context if the aim is to go beyond today’s value proposition.
If the context of learning is based on what are current social media practices what will the market learn? The market will learn what the crowd is currently doing rather than knowledge of what an organization could and should do to stand out from the crowd.
Where Do We Find Valuable Knowledge?
Information can lead to knowledge but information alone is not knowledge. Knowledge is defined as (i) expertise, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject, (ii) what is known in a particular field or in total; facts and information or (iii) awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation.
Knowledge acquisition involves complex cognitive processes: perception, learning, communication, association and reasoning. The term knowledge is also used to mean the confident understanding of a subject with the ability to use it for a specific purpose.
Knowledge Management (KM) comprises a range of practices used in an organisation to identify, create, represent, distribute and enable adoption of insights and experiences. Such insights and experiences comprise knowledge, either embodied in individuals or embedded in organisational processes or practice.
Knowledge Management efforts typically focus on organisational objectives such as improved performance, competitive advantage, innovation, the sharing of lessons learned, and continuous improvement of the organisation.
The Business.com report suggest “Building brand awareness and brand reputation are two of the top social media success metrics, but nearly two-thirds of companies focused on these metrics have little to no insight into performance via standard or easily accessible reports.” Social media’s impact on an organizations brand awareness and reputation reflects the quality of the organization.
Just maybe businesses would be better served to gain the knowledge necessary to understand and improve their organizational quality first before that “quality” is exposed to the market via social media. What would your organizational quality report look like?
Just an opinion, what is yours?