The Social Feedback Cycle
For a lot of organizations including businesses, nonprofits, and governmental agencies use of social media very often begins in Marketing, public communications, or a similar office or department with a direct connection to customers and stakeholders. This makes sense given that a typical driver for getting involved with social media is a slew of negative comments, a need for virality, or a boost to overall awareness in the marketplace and especially in the minds and hearts of those customers increasingly out of reach of interruptive media. In a word, many organizations are looking for engagement, and they see social media as the way to get it.
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 T the Social Feedback Cycle of 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 the development of 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 big thought
Social Business Is Holistic
When you combine identity, ease of publishing, and the penchant to publish and to use shared information in purchase-related decision-making processes, the larger role of the Social Feedback Cycle and the practice of social business emerges: Larger than the loop that connects sales with marketing—one of the areas considered as part of traditional Customer Relationship Management (CRM)—the Social Feedback Cycle literally wraps the entire business.
The Connected Customer
The upshot is that the customer is now in a primary role as an innovator, as a source of forward-pointing information around taste and preference, and as such is potentially the basis for competitive advantage. I say potentially because customers having opinions or ideas and actually getting useful information from them and then using it are two different things. Here again, social business and the related technologies step in: Where social media marketing very often stops at the listening stage, perhaps also responding to directly raised issues in the process, social business takes two added steps.
The Social Web and Engagement
This next section provides a conceptual starting point in understanding how the critical activities of engagement and response are enabled through the adoption of social technology and supporting processes. Beware: It’s a different viewpoint than that which applies to engagement in traditional media. Engagement is redefined by consumers when acting in an open, participative social environment. This is a very different context than the “read-only” setting in which traditional media defines “engagement,” so take the time here to understand the four stages of engagement.