Have you noticed that lots of people and organizations claim to have answers to use of all this social stuff? Yet few seem to forget that real answers come from asking the right questions. Asking the weak questions can lead you to the wrong answers.
Weak questions are dis-empowering. They keep your focused on your own organizational needs, your problems, and your shortcomings. Weak questions keep you focused on what’s wrong… on what isn’t working. That might seem like a good idea, but all it does is further reinforce the situation you’d like to change. Weak questions will lead your brain to come up with answers that are useless to the market you aim to serve.
Yet weak questions are addictive. At first glance they may even seem helpful, and that’s why they’re so insidious. You might think that social media can be used to market your products, the best thing you can do is to ask, “Why do I believe this?” Perhaps if you could diagnose the problem, you could better understand it. But it doesn’t work that way. When you’re in a state of change, you aren’t thinking clearly to begin with. You’re in no position to accurately diagnose root causes. Effectively you’re blind. So the answers you get back will be worthless. At best you’ll merely come up with a temporary solution, but the underlying condition will remain, and the problem will simply submerge and crop up again later, sometimes in a different form. Asking why social media isn’t working for you merely feeds inward examination. In answering the why question, now you’ve added a story on top of your failure. The first step to a solution is to acknowledging that you may be thinking wrong, inward rather than out ward.
Ultimately the way out to a solution is right thinking. Wrong thinking leads you in circles. Right thinking leads to innovative action.
What Are The Right Questions?
The success of any business is about finding and using answers to relevant questions about the business and how it can best serve a market. Given that the market now includes anyone and everyone within the chain of communications then everything that influences business success is now totally transparent to the entire market. Marketing and messaging are no longer isolated rather it is now a reflection of the entire organizations ability to engage with the market. Before a business jumps into using social media they ought to ask:
- Who is communicating what and why? What is our market hearing? Who is listening? It’s everyone & everything!
- What is influencing the quality of these communications? What are the constraints and problematic issues? Your culture, your knowledge and your organizational quality!
- Where are the markets which consume these communications? Everywhere!
- When will we know the markets sentiment? Every moment if your listening!
- Why do people care about communications? The freedom of speech has been and always will be an attraction and a powerful force of human nature.
As social media fuels the influence of open and transparent communications it will force organizations to think strategically about everything. Why? Communication touches and influences everything. Organizational design, culture, strategy are all reflective of management thinking and skills. To effectively address these issues requires new knowledge from the outside. This knowledge domain is not the same domain as marketing and PR.
What, where, how, when, who and why are questions whose answers depend on the purpose of your business and how it serves a market. Good questions lead you to better understand the markets needs and intents if that indeed is your purpose.