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Redefining Relevance in a Social World

Posted on : 03-10-2012 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Business, Social Media

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This post originally appeared on LinkedIn as part of their influencer program on October 3, 2012.  To see the original post click here.

Today I will be speaking with Linkedin’s Dan Roth as part of AdWeek.  We will be chatting about redefining relevance in a social world.  What a great topic for what has been going on within the social media space.

Throughout the history of business we have seen many businesses struggle with maintaining relevance, but isn’t that just part of human nature? There is a comfort level we sometimes have with the status quo.  We also are naturally proud of a direction we chose and shifting direction is sometimes perceived as being wrong.  We never like being wrong.  Of course facts change, so shifting gears is simply evolving but how do we go about making the right decisions?

I am looking forward to seeing Dan again.  We had the opportunity to see each other a few months back at a LinkedIn event.  That event was not the first time we had the chance to interact.   We first met back in 2008 as Dan was writing a wired piece called “The Dark Lord of Broadband. Dan has done an amazing job redefining himself during his career, and today he is Executive Editor for LinkedIn.  Speaking of LinkedIn, yesterday they too evolved their user experience.  I have always found LinkedIn Today to be a tremendous source of relevant news, now LinkedIn is trying to offer a new means to find relevant information.  I have followed many of the news sources and I have been loving the content within my feed, and that was just the first day.  I look forward to this evolving further.

As I look at the business world and social media, I have watched similar evolution.  A few years back for a business to win in social media it took a new, unique app or different approach through one of the social networks.  Today businesses are finding it more and more difficult to be noticed through all the noise.  As I listen to the discussion, I have heard a shift by businesses toward content.  You have heard the expression, “content is king.”  I think content is imperative especially if it is properly geared toward your audience.  That being said, the noise level will continue to make that hard to be noticed.  Too much choice can sometimes make people choose nothing. Can this happen with too much content? Who do we trust?

This question of trust becomes an interesting question.  Do we trust information from businesses or do we trust people further? When I look at some of the first efforts in social media by businesses, people within the space built connections to many brands. But was it really the brands?  Often it was the people behind the brand that built that trust.  It was blurring the lines between personal and professional.  I can’t help to think about this in relevance to the changes at LinkedIn.  I am sure some businesses would be nervous about the professional side of an individual and their writing reflecting on the brand.  Often companies have rules about their employees talking.  In my view this is one of the greatest means for maintaining relevance in a social world.  What a great means to build trust in a world redefine by social media.  This is all part of the redefining relevance. As the social world shifts more to being about people, how will your brand deal with that?

As you explore the new content I expect you will find new people to trust and learn a great deal to help evolve your business.  One of those examples came to me yesterday as I was thinking about this topic.  Richard Branson wrote a post Five Top Tips to Starting a Successful Business.  The post outlines steps for an entrepenuer to build a successful business, but they are also a great way to redefine a business.  Here are his 5 tips:

  1. Listen More than Talk
  2. Keep it Simple
  3. Take Pride in your Work
  4. Have Fun and Success will Follow
  5. Rip it up and Start Again

If you want to redefine business, follow these tips! Thank you Richard for these.  I think we all have the ability to be a bit entrepenuerial and drive the next phase of our business.