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‘My company’s attempts at using social media are like an uncle dancing awkwardly at a wedding’. This was how a delegate at the ‘Social Media and Successful Innovation’ workshop described the challenges she faced when trying to use Twitter to build new business relationships.

Other challenges that were raised included how businesses could find the time to be active in social media platforms and how to find news, and other material, which would interest and engage new audiences. These and other issues were discussed in a lively workshop at the British Library Business & IP Centre on 13 December.

Stephen Danelutti, from Yammer, led the workshop which focussed on how businesses can use social media to develop partnerships and to engage with existing and potential customers. Stephen addressed many of these issues in a lively and interactive session. He introduced the delegates to the main platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIN, Facebook and Yammer but spent much of the time focussing on specific challenges faced by delegates. Stephen was keen to emphasise that there are few hard and fast rules but he and other delegates introduced some of the key principles to be applied to using these platforms and these are some of them.

He preferred the use of the term ‘social business’ to ‘social media’. ‘Social business’ describes an activity and an approach whereas ‘social media’ is just a term to describe a range of platforms.

Any attempt to build a profile within a community , or a new community, will take a lot of time and effort and the results will not be immediate.

Whatever you post has to be of interest and value to your intended audience and not just self promotion. It should be challenging without being rude. Never post something online that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.

For those within a company, or any organisation, it is best to initially try to build engaged communities internally before attempting to do so externally; this will make you feel more comfortable with this approach and will ensure the your internal culture reflects the external style of engagement.

The British Library will be running the workshop again on 13 February 2013. Details are here: Link

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