• Social media ≠ Social business

    It seems like you can’t go a day without seeing another story on social networks, social media, social marketing…the list goes on and on. Although sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have been around for years, businesses are just starting to figure out how social plays a role in their business.

    To date everyone has been clamoring to build a presence. The focus has been on marketing activity but lacked the tie to true businesses objectives. Many marketers got a pass on the measurability of social with excuses like “it is simply too new”, “we can’t be left behind” or “there is no way to measure the impact.”

    In my opinion, we are exiting a time of social media experimentation and moving into an era of Social Business. Organizations (and not just marketers) will seek to integrate social into the business but must do so in a measured fashion, with alignment to the core objectives. The time has come for organizations to realize that “social” is not a tactic, it is strategic to the business. That concept will scare many executives. Those executives will take the path of their counterparts that missed the wave created by e-Commerce. Meanwhile, the innovators will recognize the opportunity, build successful programs and set their business on a new path as a result.

    Before we go any further lets take a minute to define Social Business. While the definition is simple, the execution can be challenging without the right sponsorship, alignment and technology.

    Social Business:  Cultivating relationships to drive measurable business results

    In reality this concept is nothing new. However, the execution of social business has been turbo-charged thanks to the social platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. With these new channels, relationships become more visible, networks expand, insight gets driven from information and as a result relationships become more effective and our ability to tap into their power becomes more efficient.

    Now before you start thinking that this “social thing” is a fad let me remind you of a few statistics:

    • Facebook now has over 650mm members and those members make 80,000 wall posts and 500,000 comments every minute.
    • LinkedIn has surpassed the 100mm member mark and is growing faster than ever (and they are going public this year)
    • Twitter has over 175mm users and continues to be the place where news breaks first

    But let’s be clear – this isn’t about Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. This movement is all about people. The entire world is going social and these technologies are accelerating that movement. The new “Web” will made up of people, not sites. How will this change your business? Are you ready to capitalize on the opportunity?

    For organizations, social does have a risk of falling by the wayside if you don’t take the proper steps to integrate it to your business. It all starts with defining the appropriate objectives, deploying programs to maximize results and having built in mechanisms to measure, analyze and improve.

    If your team brings you friends & followers, push back and tell them you want relationships. If they bring you likes and re-tweets, push back and tell them you want business engagement. If they bring you sentiment and conversations, push back and tell them you want revenue. It’s imperative that businesses take social initiatives to the next level by moving beyond indirect metrics and start tying results to the bottom line.

    Category: Financial Professionals, Marketing | Tags: , , , , , , .

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8 comments on “Social media ≠ Social business

  1. Great article! I think that you are right on in your sentiment and idea that it is time to move on from the novelty of social media, and time to make strategic use of it to help your business. I see so many business people getting caught up in the numbers (likes, followers, etc) and ignoring the idea that you want people that will engage – “relationships” is a perfect way to put it!

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  4. Your post resonated with me -particularly the section about exiting the experimental phases.

    Just did a post: Are You Still Experimenting with Social Media? bit.ly/jQPZuX Moving into the social business era means that your company should be clear about the desired business outcomes for social media, the strategy it supports and the core business and organizational capabilities that need to be in place.

  5. Chad I appreciate your thought leadership here and couldn’t agree more. So many organizations and professionals believe that they can simply build a presence and new business will come in the door. Many who have built a presence are scratching their heads wondering why it’s not working! There must be a strategic plan in place not only for engaging potential clients, but also for moving those potential clients through a well-defined process that will ultimately lead to new business, and sustainable revenue. Organizations and professionals must “capture” the attention of prospective clients, cultivate those relationships, and ultimately convert. Engagement alone through social media is not even enough to grow the business.

  6. Rob Peters says:

    The key metric that is missing from many social business processes for client engagement is trust. Relationships have always been built on trust. Now what has been fundamental in the offline world will be so in the online social marketplace. It is important that the interactions business has with prospective clients is transparent and trustworthy. Businesses must have operational processes that keep commitments and are perceived highly by prospective and existing clients. The reputation of the business, product/service, and individuals will be validated by their Relationship Capital (RC).

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