Yes, ‘The Social Network’ dominated headlines in 2010 with Facebook, Twitter, and the Academy Award-winning film grabbing headlines for everything from starting political revolutions, changing the way we use language, privacy concerns, and the over-bearing psyche of its fragile founder.
The Social Mistake
Let’s just make it clear, from 2010 onward, if you didn’t understand social media, you might as well still be listening to cassettes and enjoy the Black Eyed Peas. Well that’s how the business media painted any businesses who hadn’t yet joined the creepy #FF love fests and inconclusive Groupon mega sale sale SALES! Sadly the real strategic message about social media hasn’t gotten all the way to business decision makers and instead has resulted in adhoc barely-tactical implementations of teens running corporate twitter accounts and mass Facebook ad budgets just to increase the number of pages ‘likes’ that never get used for any actionable lead generation tactics.
Social media has always been about empowering businesses with the ability to implement retention tactics, reinforce brand personas, directly interact with their customers, and most of all, finally provide small businesses with a wealth of actionable customer analytics to drive product and service innovation. If you haven’t already started looking at social media this way, contact a strategy consultant, spend a week reading, or take a step back from the hype and take a serious look at how you can modernize the principles that made your business successful in the first place.
The message here is simple: an improved social media strategy will help you generate more revenue.
That’s not the exciting part.
The Next Social Revolution
If you want to get ahead of the curve, truly revolutionize your business model, and innovate your industry, it is time for you to embrace the social business model. Where social media was about revolutionizing the tools, the social business is about redefining the foundation of the B2C relationship.
The Social Business
The future is not about more ways to connect with your customers. The future is about building a synergy between your products/services, your customers, and your employees. Like optimizing a conversion funnel for a web page for greater sales, a business that can optimizing operations and vision to match both its relationship with customers and the capabilities/motivators of its employees would reach optimal social impact.
Stop looking at business the way microeconomics scripted it out a century ago. Markets are not efficient; they are not rational; and they certainly are not all competitive. With market dynamics changing as quickly today over 5 years as they used to over a generation in the past, assuming that markets will find equilibrium and that an invisible hand will ensure growth, are false.
The key today is sustainability. Building a business that can achieve long-term growth targets, efficiently works with its resources (& staff), and that directly connects with customers as a way to understand and mitigate short-term variances in the market before they happen. This is not about shifting to a new-age idea of the world or pushing you towards a radical view on business.
People fuel your business. People define where your business will go. People will define your success.
Today’s technology finally allows for your business to interface your customers and staff in near real-time. Your ability to succeed will be defined by how well you integrate them and quality of the relationships. Impassioned employees and evangelical customers will go to extraordinary lengths for your company.
Just look at brands like Apple.
How to build a Social Business
If you’re looking for a schematic on how to build one, keep an eye out on these websites for insights into the emerging ideas of Social Business, Enterprise 2.0, and/or Social Enterprise:
The Brain Yard by Information Week
At its core, creating a Social Business is about achieving 3 key principles:
- Interpreting business conditions in real-time
- Evaluating all resources: suppliers, staff, customers, partnerships, community
- Define sustainable success criteria
Shifting towards the dynamics of a Social Business means owners embracing a new vision:
- Bypass short-term business growth choices in favour of long-term sustainable ideologies
- Customers define the perception, content, and reach of your brand
- The quality, dedication, skills, and synergy of employees defines how and why a company will be successful
- A commitment to innovation is a commitment to your customer, employees, and vision