Social Business: The Future is Now


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Looking for your next customer in today's business culture requires a social business strategy.

A social business is both internally and externally focused with a content mindset to produce relevant touch points that build lasting relationships.

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  • One of the most progressive companies in the area of social business is IBM. In full disclosure, IBM has products and services that help organizations become a social business and measure results. That said, IBM is walking the walk quite nicely. Recently, IBM released their 2012 Global CEO Study in which they interviewed more than 1700 CEOs in 64 countries across 18 industries. Their big three take aways from the report are: 1) empower employees through social technology and a culture of being social, 2) leverage partnerships, 3) engage customers as individuals. In other words, don’t think of your business as B2B or B2C, but rather H2H (human to human). Businesses are made up of people and people are social. And, social technology enables everyone to connect and engage in ways that weren’t possible in years past.
  • I encourage you to download this report. It’s not a gated report (no form required). Two of my favorite quotes from CEO participants really summarize it nicely. Social technologies allow feedback to occur 24/7365 and we need to be able to listen and respond. And, the organization is made up of collective intellectual capital that need to be mobilized for innovation.
  • So, the new stage 3 is really social business. In the simplest terms it is about business. It doesn’t matter if you’re a non profit or a government agency or commercial entity, it’s about the definition of business in your context.
  • What began as “social media” has evolved. The journey for businesses around the world is not unlike the phases we all experience from infant to mature adulthood. I believe we are approximately 7 years into this journey and I would characterize our current state in social business as early adulthood. My reason is that we’re finally talking about what it means to be a social business. This was not a conversation we were having 2 years ago.
  • Most business around the world have begun to use social media technology in one form or another. It’s really not a matter of whether a business is “on social media” the question is “does social drive business results.” This is why we need to be talking about social business, not social media.
  • Let’s look at the five characteristics of a social business. In full disclosure these are my opinion. You may or may not find these characteristics in someone else’s definition of social business. I’ve been a practitioner of social business since 2006 both as a user and as a digital marketing agency and a speaker and trainer, not to mention author of one book and a top 100 digital marketing blog, though it wasn’t called social business until more recently. So, I am confident that my perspective is grounded in sound reasoning.
  • Anything meaningful in business always has to have the full support of the top of the food chain in the organization. In a social business, the C suite recognizes that employees are social and that they use social technology, and that restricting their use in the business is like restricting them from talking on the phone. The C suite also understands the role of relevant content as a means to engage with customers, and technology or systems to facilitate usage and measurement of business value. A social business is both content rich and users of social technology to implement, track and measure results.
  • In my opinion, one of the most compelling characteristics of a social business is when the organization recognizes that marketing is not a department. The role of the marketing department is to provide leadership to the rest of the organization. The marketing executive should be a part of the leadership team. The marketing plan must be clearly aligned with the business’ strategic objective. The role of marketing certainly includes the launch of campaigns and tactics designed to build brand awareness and produce leads. And, it also includes communicating the vision to the rest of the organization and spelling out exactly how the people in each functional department or division plays a role in the company’s overall marketing efforts.
  • A social business is very strong in content marketing. Study after study proves that we humans don’t trust advertising. I’ve seen stats as high as 76% of us don’t believe advertising messages. In the digital age, the most effective way to reach and engage people is through relevant content. The people we can reach through good content runs the gamut across your entire value chain from employees, customers and all strategic stakeholders. Delivering content that addresses the needs and wants of each persona is the name of the game. And, a social business understands that and does exactly that.
  • A social business embraces employees as brand ambassadors. Some of your employees have valuable subject matter expertise, and some of them have the capability of building their reputation around that expertise in a way that is valuable to your brand. This phenomenon is made possible through a content mindset which is greatly enabled through our digital channels such as blogs and social networks. While not all employees are qualified to be dual branded, those that do can have a “halo effect” on your brand. When these employees produce valuable content, share it and engage with your market, their personal brand benefits and so does yours. A social business does NOT fret over the personal brand equity of these employees. Rather, a social business embraces it for the halo effect. A social business works in alignment with these employees.
  • A social business understands that it requires technology investment to be social not unlike the need for ERP or CRM systems. In April 2012 Forrester Research published a report on social business. Their research shows that 50% of those organizations surveyed either had already invested in social technology or had planned to invest in 2012.
  • The Forrester Research report indicates that 60% of the executives surveyed indicated their #1 goal from social technology is better decision making by being closer to the customer.
  • The landscape of social technology providers is a fast moving one. In 2012 alone we’ve seen several moves from well known brands. Oracle and Salesforce both made social technology acquisitions, as did Microsoft in their acquisition of Yammer. And, of course as I mentioned earlier, IBM has a big stake in social business with products and services. While this is just a sampling of some of the technology providers in social business, clearly the trend is obvious. Organizations need social technology and these providers are serious about earning your business to help you be a social business.
  • Another characteristic of a social business is having a data driven mindset. The amount of data that can be gleaned from social technologies is so huge that a new buzzword has emerged – BIG DATA. Measuring the impact of big data on the bottom line is complex, but it’s very doable with a combination of the data driven mindset and the right tools to micro target effectively with relevant messages and to measure social engagement outcomes.
  • HubSpot is a marketing automation company. Recognized by Inc., Forbes, Fortune and others for their rapid growth, they are also recognized for the two co founders walking the walk in social business. HubSpot is in the “inbound marketing” business. So, it’s no surprise, and worth noting that the CEO and CTO of a fast growing inbound marketing software company both blog and tweet in a very down to earth, human way. But, even more significant is the fact they empower their 400 employees to tweet, blog and otherwise share thoughts and links to content about relevant inbound marketing stuff. They get it. Of course, they should get it. They are a great example to follow.
  • Indium Corp is a NY based manufacturer of industrial solder paste. They were an early adopter of blogging. It didn’t happen overnight, but today more than 70 engineers write blog articles on obscure, long tail technical topics that would glaze over most of our eyes. Their blog content is well received by their audience resulting in a healthy steady supply of qualified sales leads.
  • Kinaxis is a supply chain management software company located in western Canada. Kinaxis has many social channels where they enable employees, customers and partners to participate through relevant content. One of their content channels is even a comedy video channel.
  • Kinaxis has a vibrant blog with more than a dozen contributors from every function in the business, all sharing their thoughts and expertise on supply chain industry topics.
  • When a brand delivers utility to the consumer through social technology, a strong relationship can be built. Mobile technology is one of the best ways to do that. Delta airlines allows me to manage my travel plans from my smartphone. Charmin (yes, the makers of toilet paper) allows me to find available rest rooms wherever I am. The user community rates each bathroom a “sit or a squat” based on how clean it is. And, of course Starbucks allows me to find store locations as well add money to my card. These examples illustrate how a social business connects with their consumer in ways that really matter to the consumer, not by selling but rather by offering them value on their mobile device.
  • The Social Business Index is currently the only independent measure of organizations around the world. The SBI is a free resource from the Datchis Group, a global consultancy in social business. It is a free version whose purpose seems to be to entice large brands to subscribe to their Social Performance Monitor SaaS offering.
  • IBM has invested more than $15 billion in recent years acquiring technology companies and their talent to position themselves as the market leader in social business solutions. Visit them online at
  • Each business is unique. In order to consider what’s next for you ask yourself these questions. Chances are you have competition, your employees are connected in social networks and you already use some form of social technology whether it’s free or fee based. Remember that being a social business is a journey. A social business mindset is not an option. A strategic plan is not an option. Data driven social technology is not an option. I encourage you to take the action that is appropriate for you in your situation. Lack of action can be very risky.
  • Social Business: The Future is Now

    1. 1. Looking for Your Next Customer Bernie Borges, CEO Find and Convert
    2. 2. Is This Your Next Customer?
    3. 3. Or, Is This Your Next Customer?
    4. 4. IBM 2012 Global CEO Study
    5. 5. IBM 2012 Global CEO Study
    6. 6. IBM Global CMO Study
    7. 7. Zero Moment of Truth
    8. 8. The Future is NowSOCIAL BUSINESS
    9. 9. Social Business is a Journey
    10. 10. The Train Has Left The Station
    11. 11. Characteristics of a Social Business• C suite embraces it• “Marketing is not a department”• Employees produce content• Investment in social technology• Data driven marketing mindset
    12. 12. C Suite Embraces It
    13. 13. Marketing is Not a Department
    14. 14. Become a Magnet Through Content • Employees • Customers • Influencers • Partners • Stakeholders
    15. 15. Employees Produce Content
    16. 16. Employees Share Content
    17. 17. Employees Share Content
    18. 18. Employees Share Content
    19. 19. Employees Curate Content
    20. 20. Employees Create Authorship
    21. 21. Social Businesses Invest in Social Technology
    22. 22. Social Businesses Invest in Social Technology
    23. 23. Marketing Automation Growth
    24. 24. Social Business Technology
    25. 25. Data Driven Marketing Mindset
    26. 26. Social Business in Action
    27. 27. The C Suite Embraces It
    28. 28. Marketing is Not a Department • 70+ engineer bloggers • About technical topics • Measurable lead flow
    29. 29. Employees Produce Content: Kinaxis
    30. 30. Employees Produce Content: Kinaxis
    31. 31. Social Business is Mobile
    32. 32. Social Business Index
    33. 33. IBM Leading The Way
    34. 34. What’s Next for You?• Does your C suite embrace social?• How connected are your customers?• How connected are your employees?• What is your content strategy?• Do you use social technology?• Do you have a data driven mindset?
    35. 35. Learn More
    36. 36. Bernie Borges CEO, Find and Convert Transformational Digital Marketing http://www.findandconvert.comStrategy Execution Results Support