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Making the case for social business: Appealing to the heart

So hopefully by now you’ve read the first two parts of making the case for social business. The first step was to appeal to the mind by showcasing the inevitability of this shift. The second step was to highlight the business value that social business tools and processes can unlock.

Today, we touch on my favorite part of social business. Maybe it’s because I’m a peace, love, unity, and respect kinda guy, or maybe it’s just because I like people. Maybe it’s because I’m tired of being disrespected as a customer and under-appreciated as an employee.

But it’s probably because I’m fascinated and enchanted by the power and opportunity that enterprise social media provides.

Sometimes, on a very rare occasion, you can find a decision maker who is not only willing to do something because they think it’s the smart thing to do, and not just because they see it will be a profitable thing to do…but also because they feel that it is the right thing to do.

One of the great things about social business is that, when implemented properly, with the heart in the right place…everyone wins.

Social technologies have changed business in some very profound ways. Most notably, social has disrupted the balance of power.

In the days of prior to social media, companies had the megaphone and they, with the help of advertisers, had the lion’s share of influence in how a brand would be perceived. Word of mouth has always been there but it spread much more slowly.

Fast forward to today and now it is the consumer who has the voice and the customer has as much information about a company and its products, as the salespeople do.

Whereas companies used to be able to just talk, now they must listen…and that’s a great thing. Likewise, where customers used to be passive consumers of the brand, they are now the collective architects…and that’s a great thing too.

And the employee, who used to be nothing more than a piece of the machine, can now elevate their position through hard work, knowledge, passion, and connectivity….and yes, that’s a great thing too.

Great companies that act in their customers’ and employees’ best interests will be rewarded by the customers and employees that share the same values.

Employees that delight the customer and bring value to the company will make themselves indispensable and vastly more marketable when looking for new positions; and

Customers that follow brands, contribute ideas, and connect with employees, will get what they need more quickly, and have the opportunity to command more respect.

So long as all parties involved respect the others…brand advocacy always wins.

Here’s some of the reasons why customers win in a social business environment:

  • They are respected, acknowledged and appreciated because their voices are loud and influential;

  • They get better products because companies can improve by listening to feedback;

  • They get lower prices because the internet makes a more competitive landscape;

  • They get faster and better customer service because of new technologies;

  • They know better which companies to trust because of the transparency social media provides; and

  • They can feel more connected and loyal to a company because of shared values exposed by the company’s voice and content.

Here’s some of the reasons why customers win in a social business environment:

  • They are acknowledged and appreciated;

  • They are given more opportunities for creativity and contribution;

  • They can become more motivated through internal competition and collaboration; and

  • They can feel more driven by purpose in a more well connected and open company.

Here’s some of the reasons why companies win in a social business environment:

  • More engaged employees;

  • Greater number of customer advocates and internal champions;

  • Learning from customers;

  • Reduced support costs, cost per acquisition;

  • Increased reach, awareness, leads, and sales; and

  • The ability to change the world.

Imagine what the world looks like when customers are more appreciated and the level of accountability their voice necessitates helps to make better designed products, with less waste, less crap and better customer service.

Imagine what the world looks like when employees are respected and appreciated at work because they are given the ability to contribute and collaborate, to do work that matters.

Imagine what it looks like when our companies are driven by more than just the desire to grow profitability, but instead a world where work doesn’t have to feel like such a chore, and being a consumer doesn’t feel like a choosing the lesser of two evils.

This post was first written for Social Business News in 2014 so some of the information and vendors may not be around anymore.


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