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How can a business strategically use all the social tools for business purposes? It takes a sound strategy followed by execution by experienced resources that understand the art and science of social media.
Is Your Business Using Social Media?
time. Each time
models shift the
has to shift as
follow a linear
service. At the
end of all the
business processes is the customer, the markets and the ultimate economic
transaction. In this model the customer was at the end of the “system” receiving
products, services, media and price.
Price was influenced by the markets and the efficiency of the delivery system. Most
of today’s business minds are viewing the social web in the framework of the old
systemic design of a business, with the customer at the end. However, the social
web does not lend itself very well to old business models rather it is an
inverted systemic flow which starts with the customer and flows
This dynamic is just now starting to create rippling effects throughout traditional
markets and business models. The dominant response has initially been from
advertisers trying to reach consumers in a more direct way and with demographic
affinity to their brand.
The emerging shift in business flow will require businesses to make shifts in their
thinking in order to both maintain and gain new customers, markets.
Shifts are happening in the following business categories:
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1. Advertisers are looking for new methods and models that reach target
2. Marketing : Brands are looking for and adopting new channels for
3. Technology: Technological enhancements are accelerating faster than the
average user can keep up.
4. Communications: New mediums and an increases in communications is
5. Industry specific initiatives: Many brands and entire industries are
running to the social networking mediums to improve customer loyalty and
6. Media : Many media companies are just now recognizing the influence of
social networking on traditional media methods.
7. Financial: New methods and models are being developed to create
economics out of new services and products offered.
8. Telecommunications: Social networking mobile applications are
proliferating the decks of mobile handsets globally.
9. Your World : More adults are jumping into and learning the value attributes
of social networking.
Are Business Leaders Embracing Social Media?
All of these dynamics collectively are pointing to the potential of significant
disruption for those unprepared or unaware. The impact of these dynamics will
create strategic shifts for all business models and means. The old strategies are no
longer relevant, the new strategies are dynamic and emerging moment by moment.
However there is a macro landscape of strategic issues that provide the basis of
thinking, or rethinking, about business models. The big will have a different kind of
According to eMarketer Nearly six out
of 10 Americans who use social media
interact with companies on social
media Websites, according to a
September 2008 study conducted by
Opinion Research Corporation for
The researchers found 85% of social
media users thought companies
should interact with their consumers
through social media, at
least when needed. “Americans are eager to deepen their brand relationships
through social media,” said Mike Hollywood, director of new media at Cone, in a
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statement. “It isn’t an intrusion into their lives, but rather a welcome channel for
Cone is a brand marketer that counts
social networking among its
capabilities, so its enthusiasm is
understandable. But a growing
number of retail e-commerce
companies agree, judging by an
August 2008 study conducted by
Vovici Corporation for Internet
Nearly four out of 10 online merchants surveyed used social networks. Of those,
nearly one-third said they had a page on Facebook, and more than one-quarter said
they used each of MySpace and YouTube.
The dynamics cut across all dimensions of business as we’ve known it and
new dimensions and a new reality is forming before our eyes. To ignore
these dynamics could mean peril to those unprepared……sooner than later.
Learning the Art of Social Media
Many people ask how using social media can
add value to their business. Many individuals
spend lots of time writing blogs that talk about
social media. The media reports on the
increased adoption of social media and
businesses are now migrating towards the
medium as a means to market their
There is Friendfeed, Twitter, Linkedin,
Facebook and a host of other platforms and
tools for social conversations and user
generated content. To say the least the space
is very confusing and crowded if not
overwhelming for those just entering and
trying to figure out what to do and how to do
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it. While all these conversations stir interest few focus on the critical
elements required to effectively leverage the art and science of social media
for specific gains.
Based on an analysis of the most popular blogs and communities we’ve
identified four driving factors to their success. Success being defined by the
growing attraction of the content/author, the number of consistent viewers ,
ratio of post to comments and the viral distribution and referencing of the
blogs content throughout the social web. The four driving factors are:
1. Attention: Businesses and individuals are using the tools of the social
web to garner attention from specific consumer markets of interest to
the audience and the business. Attention does not come from
advertising rather relevant content and commentary by a credible
2. Attraction: To keep people’s attention a focus on design, content and
utility are the elements which create stickiness which indicates
attractiveness. The art of combining design, content and utility is not
something available in a playbook rather much is learned by trial and
error. Media, in the form of text, images, video and audio are the tools
used to create attraction combined with unique content.
3. Affinity: Content, design and community are the attributes of creating
affinity to the proposition and the users of the online community.
Unless the conversations related to the user’s needs or interest the
attraction is lost because the users find little affinity to the
4. Audience: Once 1, 2 & 3 are accomplished then you have an audience
to provide continuous value propositions in order to reinforce 1, 2 & 3.
The cycle is demanding and the art and science is ever evolving.
Unless your actively involved, experimenting and engaging with the
audience you cannot learn what gets their attention, creates the
attraction, develops the affinity and thus creating your audience.
There is an abundance of social technology available for anyone to use.
Technology is the science of distributed conversations that enables reach.
The art of using the technology is the critical element that doesn’t come
naturally. Developing the “art” of social media comes over time when one
focuses on the basics of human interaction centric to conversations that are
relevant to specific subject matters which draws people and business.
Plenty to learn and more to understand. One last thing. It isn’t going
away, it isn’t a fad rather it is the evolution of human dynamics.
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Business Planning for Social Media
As the landscape of
the social web
wonder how to
attraction of all this
“social stuff” to meet
becoming an important
aspect of any strategic
planning process as
more and more markets move to the medium…
The POST Method: A systematic approach to social strategy
Josh Bernoff of Forrester writes: In any other business endeavor we start by
figuring out what we want to accomplish. Social technologies are not magic.
They accomplish things, too. It’s time to stop doing social because it’s cool.
It’s time to start doing it because it’s effective.
To help clients with this fundamental idea, we invented a little acronym
called POST. It’s been one of the most popular ideas we’ve ever created,
even though it’s so simple and commonsensical. If you were at our
consumer forum in October you saw it (and many of you who were there
contacted us afterwards for help with your strategies). It’s at the heart of
our book Groundswell . Now I’m sharing it with all of you.
P is People. Don’t start a social strategy until you know the capabilities of
your audience. If you’re targeting college students, use social networks. If
you’re reaching out business travelers, consider ratings and reviews.
Forrester has great data to help with this, but you can make some estimates
on your own. Just don’t start without thinking about it.
O is objectives. Pick one. Are you starting an application to listen to your
customers, or to talk with them? To support them, or to energize your best
customers to evangelize others? Or are you trying to collaborate with them?
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Decide on your objective before you decide on a technology. Then figure
out how you will measure it.
S is Strategy. Strategy here means figuring out what will be different after
you’re done. Do you want a closer, two-way relationship with your best
customers? Do you want to get people talking about your products? Do you
want a permanent focus group for testing product ideas and generating new
ones? Imagine you succeed. How will things be different afterwards?
Imagine the endpoint and you’ll know where to begin.
T is Technology. A community. A wiki. A blog or a hundred blogs. Once you
know your people, objectives, and strategy, then you can decide with
Apply Strategic Processes to Post
An older strategic method called SWOT analysis allows the business to gain an insight
into their strengths and weaknesses and also the opportunities and threats posed by the
market within which they operate. The older method of SWOT analysis applies to the
context analysis of social media because unless you understand your S.W.O.T.’s how
can you expect to strategical address the right needs using social media.
The S.W.O.T. process requires research
and analysis of current and future likely
factors of social media and its impact on
business strategies. When evaluating these
factors, the use of an interrelationship and
affinity diagram enables us to sort through
the collective meaning of the factors and
then categorize them—meaning
determining the rank and how the
categories relate to or influence each other.
The question of relationship between the
categories is one of “which drives the other most to least” with subsequent
outcomes being out/in arrows. The category with the most out arrows is determined as
having the greatest influence on the collective factor outcomes. The analysis is likely to
produce different outcomes by individual, organizations or institution in context to their
opportunities to leverage their social media objectives within the emerging space.
Each business factor may produce different results based on the context of “What can
we do to leverage social media to our advantage?” That question establishes the
direction of the above example by shaping the context for analysis. Subsequently the
outcomes of the exercises provide the roadmap for prioritization of initiatives, actions or
investments aimed at accomplishing the defined objectives. Defining Socialutions for
business is using an organized body of people who have an interest, activity,
Copyright 2008 Social Media Connection Page 8
or purpose in common. The body of people in your business goes beyond
marketing and unless all parties are “connected” to the purpose social media
could hurt your business.
One thing is certain. Unless you have a plan of strategies, initiatives, measures and
knowledge then the end result may not be what you wanted for your business. Get it?
What say you?
Social Media Strategist
The Relationship Economy: www.relationship-economy.com
My Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jayderagon
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JDeragon
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Diagram produced by Brian Solis.
The Conversation Prism
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