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One of the early statements about social business was “It’s not about you”.  This was in light of the fact that business that made the move to social media often did it in the same way they approached any marketing tool – advertorial, boring and trumpeting their own successes. The inevitable result of this was small communities and no social success.

While the social business arena is maturing and more and more brands are starting to get it right it is, in truth, still new and we’re all finding our way. But the title of this article remains sacrosanct.  It is not about you.

Anyone who really takes the time to think about that statement will realise the massive implication those 5 words will have on business. In the past 100 years of business any foray into the public domain has always been about you: This is who we are! This is why we are great!  This is why you will love us! Look how clever/generous/brilliant we are! Shout it loud, shout it in lights!

Social business now requires the undoing of 100 years of thinking.  That doesn’t come overnight.  Yet overcome it business must.

What does “it’s not about you” mean? Thinking of any personal conversation. It goes well when you are interested in what the other person has to say, you value their opinion, you ask for their input and you acknowledge what they say.  When you speak you encourage, you validate, you offer assistance. Whether on Twitter, Facebook, blogs – highlight the successes of your customers, inform them and respond to their interaction with you.

How does this work practically? Like and interact with other brand pages, re-tweet your customers or affiliated brands where appropriate, answer questions, highlight comments that are insightful.

In short. Be Smart. Be Engaged. Be Human.