The New New Social Business

Published On March 9, 2012 | By mbalogh | Blog

I read an interesting ebook the other day.  It wasn’t so much that the content was interesting, although it was, but how I came to have it was more interesting.  The cost of the book, what they charged me to download it, was one tweet.  That’s it.

Tweet and get a free book.  Just a few simple words that turned my marketing world upside down.  IBM touts social business along side their Smarter Planet series but this is different.  Here’s what they have to say on the matter:

A social business isn’t just a company that has a Facebook page and a Twitter handle. A social business is one that embraces and cultivates a spirit of collaboration and community throughout its organization—both internally and externally.
IBM has identified three distinct characteristics of a social business:

  • Engaged—deeply connecting people, including customers, employees, and partners, to be involved in productive, efficient ways.
  • Transparent—removing boundaries to information, experts and assets, helping people align every action to drive business results.
  • Nimble—speeding up business with information and insight to anticipate and address evolving opportunities.

No offense, but that’s the same crap I’ve been hearing for years.  Sure technically it’s business and it’s using social, but that’s like saying she’s a girl and she’s my friend, so she must be my girlfriend, right?

This new model is different.  It takes the old social marketing formula and turns it on it’s head.  It’s hard to believe but there’s a new social paradigm.  The old one, and it’s not even that old, goes like this:   attract, engage, activate.  Attract new customer and retain old ones.  Once you have them, engage them by delivering value.  Ultimately drive them down the funnel and along the continuum toward activate.  Activation is the gold.  This is the social payoff:  friends telling friends, friends telling strangers, strangers trusting strangers.

But that’s not this.  This is different.  This is spreading the awareness that drives the business first, justifying it with a valuable asset, and using it to grow the rest of your business.

Attract, engage, activate has now become activate, engage, attract.

You want my ebook, and I know you do, tell the world.  And now that you have, download it, read it, and be engaged.  I know you will be because in true social fashion it’s a good ebook — if it’s not this whole thing falls apart.  And then comes attract.  By now they’ve committed to you socially – activate, and read your book – engage.  They’ve taken two steps in your front door and it’s up to you to keep them.  What else do you have to offer?

This is social business.

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