With regards to social media and it’s impact on business, I wanted to offer you some questions you might consider asking. In putting these out, I don’t exactly want you to answer them in the comments section. Instead, I wanted to share with you what I think are the questions business people need to consider asking with regards to using these tools for communications (of all types, and not necessarily just marketing).
- What are the basic, bare-bones components of our business? – Use small words. Describe it as briefly as you can. No matter if you THINK you know the business, try it again.
- How do we share? – Inside the business, outside the business, it’s important to figure this out. Think broadly about “share.” With social tools, there are lots of implications, but inside the company, it’s crazy and potentially bit.
- How do we collaborate? – Similar but different to sharing, the question is: now that we have these amazing tools, how do we best apply them to collaborative efforts: business-to-customer, customer-to-customer, business-to-business, etc. The last of these, business-to-business, is harder than you think. Do you dare open your company up for external collaboration? Software companies do it all the time. Would it work for you?
- How do we wire new networks? – Let’s accept that social software like Facebook and Twitter are part of what’s next. How do we tap these in concerted ways? How do we build interactivity for our own business purposes into these tools? And here’s one: what would happen if one of them went away? Do you have a plan b?
- How do we make new distribution points? – I have a new favorite thing to say at conferences with regards to distribution: Walmart and the Mafia are both masters of it. In both cases, they learned how to bypass prior roadblocks, they learned how to shift materials faster into buyers’ hands. They know how to distinguish between buyers and non-buyers. Do you? And are you expanding your distribution? Are you jumping gates?
- How do we develop relationships that yield? – It’s great to have 100,000 friends on Twitter. How many take action? Of the 36,000 folks who subscribe to my blog, I usually get between 50-100 comments per post. That’s less than 1/3 of 1%. If comments were my business, I’d say that stinks. Relationships that yield are how we separate “friends” or “community members” from “customers” in our various business buckets. They overlap, but for the sake of this question, think strongly about “yield” and what it means to you.
- Where is that yield and how do we extract value? – You’ll note that I don’t ask you for much in the way of money. I like to ask big companies for it. You? I like to give things away for free, because it’s also a strong way to advertise what I know, because I want you to succeed, etc. But somewhere along the line, baby needs to eat. Where do you extract value from your efforts? (This one is particularly tricky and important.)
There might be more questions, fewer questions. You might not want to answer some of these. They might even just spawn new questions that you’d rather answer. But for me, these are the questions I feel New Marketing Labs will work on over 2010 as we grow our clients’ capabilities using social tools.
What’s your take?
Photo credit Andreanna