I am confused! I use almost all the major social media tools (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Chatter, Flickr, Google+) and I am sure I am missing a few. This doesn’t include all of the apps that will cross-post to these channels or have social functions built in.

The day of the omni-channel world is upon us. We have so many tools to interact with our peers, share our thoughts, collaborate with our teammates, or stay in touch with our families and friends that I find myself asking two questions frequently:

  1. Which tool should I use?
  2. How should business use these tools?

The answers to the questions are pretty complex. To start answering these questions, it’s important to understand the underlying goal of our omni-channel world. s all about engaging and reaching people when they want to engage and how they want to engage. If I am working and want to pose a question to my peers, my forum is LinkedIn. If I am at my son’s soccer game on the weekend, I may kill a few minutes on my phone’s Facebook app checking in with a friend.

Each of these tools no doubt has a more focused purpose. To answer the which tool should I use question, the answer is do whatever feels right to you. All of the leading social media tools operate on the premise of not limiting the user, allowing them to morph and develop their own methods to publish content. My recommendation is to learn the desired focus of the platform and then experiment. You will find pretty quickly how you use the tool. You are the center of the social experience. The confusion starts when you have content that makes sense to post on multiple platforms. That challenge is slowly getting better, like LinkedIn cross-posting to Twitter.

The second question of how should business use these tools is the most complex for me. There are two angles to the question. The first is how business should use these tools for internal collaboration. Intranets are being aggressively pushed out by social media platforms like Jive, Google+, and others. Smaller organizations are successfully adopting and adapting to the new collaboration platforms. Buthe center of this social media challenge is still the individual. The simple answer here is to establish a framework for use, moderate, and evolve. Specifically, organizations need to see how their collaboration tools are being used, champion the right behavior, and provide content and allow the usage to grow without imposing hard usage requirements.

The second angle is how should business target social media in anomni-channel management strategy. This is the really fun and interesting question. To answer this, business needs to consider:

  • Objectives of their omni-channel reach: Is it brand awareness? Customer support? Sales?
  • Content relevance: Based on the answer above, how is the business curating or producing content appropriate to the channel?
  • Social media monitoring: All of these channels need to be monitored and supported r. Many technologies exist now to better support this.
  • Not all channels are created equal: The activity level of each channel will sway greatly. For example, Twitter could explode if you have new product release while Flickr may be a steady-state channel. You will also need to stay up to date on how each channel is beingused so that you can adapt and tweak your strategies.

Hope this helps untangle the social media web. Now I need to go post this on Twitter.

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