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Guide to Social Business: CATS rule the internet

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The social web is driven by human beings looking for better ways to connect, communicate, create and share content. No usage manual was ever issued for Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, and yet users automatically and inherently know how to contribute to, and extract value from, these platforms.

They are profoundly human in nature and construct.

Companies venture into social media to stay competitive, to open up communication with customers and remain relevant in the eyes of their employees. However, just having a social profile does not make a business social; it’s how your organisation engages with and on that platform that determines success.

The platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.) and their enormous communitieshave turned many of our preconceived notions of business, communication and commerce upside down. Wikipedia has revolutionised the way we think about education and expertise. YouTube has revolutionised the way we think about broadcast media. Facebook has revolutionised the way we think about relationships and advertising. Twitter has revolutionised the way we think about influence.

It is not the technology behind Facebook or the code behind Twitter that lend them multi-billion dollar valuations. The technology component of any of these apps, services or sites is easily replicable at minimal expense. No, it is the identities and connections of their users that dictate such astronomical price tags. Even more, it is the way that all those billions of users are interacting that is a wake up call for all of us. It’s all about authenticity, openness, transparency and vulnerability – principles and behaviours that are not exactly fundamental pillars of Industrial Age business!

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Guide to Social Business: CATS rule the internet

  1. 1. INTRODUCTION The social web is driven by human beings looking for better ways to connect, communicate, create content and share that content. No usage manual was ever issued for Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, and yet users automatically and inherently know how to contribute to, and extract value from, these platforms. CATS rule the internet #CerebraInsights 2
  2. 2. It is not the technology behind Facebook or the code behind Twitter that lend them multi-billion dollar valuations. CATS rule the internet #CerebraInsights 3
  3. 3. Companies venture into social media to stay competitive, to open up communication with customers and remain relevant in the eyes of their employees. However, just having a social profile does not make a business social; it’s how your organisation engages with and on that platform that determines success. CATS rule the internet 4 #CerebraInsights
  4. 4. None of these platforms were ever designed for business-to-human communication. They were all founded on and continue to thrive on human-to-human communication. CATS rule the internet #CerebraInsights 5
  5. 5. Knowing that it is not technology that gives you the advantage and that your power and influence as a corporation is all but meaningless in their world, your only remaining option is to understand the DNA of the social web and its audience and look for ways to replicate it inside and outside of your business. CATS rule the internet #CerebraInsights 6
  6. 6. CONVERSATION At its core, “Web 2.0” (thanks goodness we’ve gotten past that term) catapulted the Internet into a conversation. This is the original shift and the catalyst for our three other principles. CATS rule the internet #CerebraInsights 7
  7. 7. AUTHENTICITY While conversation is difficult enough for many modern companies to grasp, authenticity is even tougher. Few companies have a blameless history and many still have laundry still today that they don’t want aired. That said, transparency, accountability and openness are undeniably key to maintaining a healthy and mutually valuable conversation with both staff and customers. CATS rule the internet #CerebraInsights 8
  8. 8. TRUST “Innocent until proven guilty.” Platforms like Instagram thrive on the principle of assuming the best of people until proven otherwise. Conversely, most company / customer transactions begin with mistrust –assuming the worst of either party. In a research project for a major banking client, one of their more senior staff told us, in response to our question of whether he was allowed access to social media or not, “My company trusts me with brokering a multi-million Dollar hedge fund but not with managing my own time on Twitter.” CATS rule the internet #CerebraInsights 9
  9. 9. SHARING If the Industrial Age was all about gathering, perfecting and ultimately licensing intellectual property (think piles of patents), this social era of business is all about sharing intellectual property. Google’s mission of “to organisezing the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” is the quintessential example of this principle, and if Google is not a good example of a social business, then we’re not sure what is! CATS rule the internet #CerebraInsights 10
  10. 10. Shift from broadcast to conversation. Shift from pretense to authenticity. Shift from suspicion to trust. Shift from protectionism to sharing. CATS rule the internet 11 #CerebraInsights
  11. 11. ABOUT CEREBRA Cerebra was founded in 2006 as a communication agency helping corporate brands enter the social media space. Since then, Cerebra has grown into Africa’s social business authority with a team of incredibly talented, hard-working personalities who share a passion for helping businesses transition from industrial age thinking to information age delivery. The Cerebra business comprises four key components: Agency, Academy, Insights and Advisory, offering services covering social media marketing, training, research and strategic direction. For more visit www.cerebra.co.za Check out other resources like this one at www.cerebra.co.za/resources

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