Social Business: The Logical Extension

Social Business: The Logical Extension

Social business follows right on the heels of the wave of interest and activity around social
media and its direct application to marketing: Social business is the logical extension of
The Social Feedback Cycle

Social technology throughout and across the business. Social business takes social concepts—sharing, rating, reviewing, connecting, and collaborating—to all parts of the business. From Customer Service to product design to the promotions team, social behaviors and internal knowledge communities that connect people and their ideas can give rise to smoother and more efficient business processes. Social business—
viewed in this way—becomes more about change management than marketing. That’s a
considerable thought.

Take a step back: Social media marketing—properly practiced—seeks to engage
customers in the online social locations where they naturally spend time. By comparison, social business picks up on what they are talking about and what they are
interested in and connects this back into the business where it can be processed and
used to create the next round of customer experiences and hence the next round of
conversations.

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It’s essential to understand the role of the customer—taken here to include anyone “on the other side” of a business transaction: It might be a retail consumer, a business customer, a donor for a nonprofit organization, or a voter in an election. What’s
standard across all of these archetypes—and what matters in the context of social
business—is that each of them has access to information, in addition to whatever information you put into the marketplace, that can support or refute the messages you’ve
spent time and money creating.

But, as we say, “Wait. There’s more.” Beyond the marketing messages, think as
well, about suggestions for improvements or innovation that may originate with your
customers: As a result of an actual experience or interaction with your brand, product,
or service, your customers have specific information about your business processes and
probably an idea or two on how your business might serve them better in the future.
Consider the following, all of which are typical of the kinds of “outputs” a customer or business partner may have formed after a transaction and will quietly walk
away with unless you take specific steps to collect this information and feedback:

• Ideas for product or service innovation
• Early warning of problems or opportunities
• Awareness aids (testimonials)
• Market expansions (ideas for new product applications)
• Customer service tips that flow from users to users
• Public sentiment around legislative action, or lack of action
• Competitive threats or exposed weaknesses

This list, hardly exhaustive, is typical of the kinds of information that customers have and often share amongst themselves—and would readily share with you if asked. Ironically, this information rarely makes it back to the product and service policy designers, which would do some real good. Importantly, this may be
8c h a p t e r 1: Social Media and Customer E ngagementâ

Information that you don’t have, precisely because you are so close to your business, you may never see. Therefore, collecting this information and systematically applying it is in your best interest.

For example,
someone may find that your software product doesn’t integrate smoothly with a particular software application that this customer may also have installed. How would you know? This information—and the ensuing pleas for help expressed in online forums—is something you can collect through social analytics (tools and processes). It can then be combined with the experiences of other customers and your process and domain knowledge to improve a particular customer experience and then offered generally as a new solution. This new solution could then be shared—
through the same community and collaborative technologies—with your more comprehensive customer
base, raising your firm’s relative value to your customers in the process and strengthening
your relationship with the customers who initially experienced the problem.
The resultant sharing of information—publishing a video or writing a
review—and its use inside the organization forms the stepping-off point from social media marketing and social analytics into social business. From a pure marketing perspective—as used here, meaning the MarCom/advertising/PR domain—this shared consumer information can be very helpful in encouraging others to make a similar purchase. It can enlighten a marketer about which advertising claims are accepted and rejected, helping that marketer tune the message. It can also create a bridge to dialog with the customer—think about onsite product reviews or support forums—
so that marketers can understand in greater detail what is helping and what is not.
Before actually making process changes, this listening and information gathering—treated in depth in Chapter 6, “Social Analytics, Metrics and Measurement”—falls under the heading of “more information” and so drives a need for enhanced social analytics tools to help make sense of it. It’s worth pursuing. Access to customer-provided
information means your product or service adapts faster. By sharing the resulting improvement and innovations while giving your customers credit, your business gains positive recognition.

Although customers can provide an invaluable source of information, you should be aware of the impact anonymous—and often damaging—comments can have. It is imperative to understand the role of your customer as both a recipient and publisher of the content that circulates on the Social Web. Is a specific voice within a conversation that is relevant to you coming from an evangelist, a “neutral,” or a detractor? You must know. Is it coming from a competitor or a disgruntled ex-employee? The same holds: You need to know so that you can plan your response. While the overall trend on the Social Web is away from anonymity and toward identity, it’s not a given—at least not yet—that any specific identity has been verified. This means you need to dig deeper.
This persistent anonymity opens the door for “comment and rating abuse,” but
social media also provides for a general raising of the bar when it comes to the establishment. Sociology assignment help is an online assignment writing service in Australia. We offer the best and most reliable Sociology Homework Help at affordable prices.

The Social Feedback Cycle
actual identity. More and more, people write comments in the hopes that they will be recognized. With this growing interest and importance of actual identity and marketplace knowledge, social business and the analytical tools that help you sort through the identity issues are essential to making sense of what is happening around you on the Social Web. Later sections tie the topics of influencer identification and the use of the “social graph,” the inner working of the linkages that connect people and the status updates that tell you what they are doing now, into business formally. For now, accept that identity isn’t always what it appears. Still, at the same time, the majority of customer comments left are done so for the dual purpose of letting you know what happened—good or bad—and at the same time letting you know that it happened to someone in particular. They signed their name because they want you (as a business) to recognize them.

“As people take control over their data while spreading their Web presence,
they are not looking for privacy, but for recognition as individuals. This will
eventually change the whole world of advertising.”

 

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