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  Social Business: The Logical Extension

Social business follows right on the heels of the wave of interest and activity around social media and its direct application to marketing: Social business is the logical extension of 7 ■ T he Social Feedback C ycle social technology throughout and across the business. Social business takes social concepts—sharing, rating, reviewing, connecting, and collaborating—to all parts of the business.

From Customer Service to product design to the promotions team, social behaviors and the development of internal knowledge communities that connect people and their ideas can give rise to smoother and more efficient business processes. Social business— viewed in this way—becomes more about change management than marketing. That’s a big thought. Take a step back: Social media marketing—properly practiced—seeks to engage customers in the online social locations where they naturally spend time.

By comparison, social business picks up on what they are talking about and what they are interested in and connects this back into the business where it can be processed and used to create the next round of customer experiences and hence the next round of conversations. It’s important to understand the role of the customer—taken here to include anyone “on the other side” of a business transaction: It might be a retail consumer, a business customer, a donor for a nonprofit organization, or a voter in an election.

What’s common across all of these archetypes—and what matters in the context of social business—is that each of them has access to information, in addition to whatever information you put into the marketplace, that can support or refute the messages you’ve spent time and money creating. But, as we say, “Wait. There’s more.” Beyond the marketing messages, think as well about suggestions for improvements or innovation that may originate with your customers:

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As a result of an actual experience or interaction with your brand, product, or service, your customers have specific information about your business processes and probably an idea or two on how your business might serve them better in the future. Consider the following, all of which are typical of the kinds of “outputs” a customer or business partner may have formed after a transaction, and will quietly walk away with unless you take specific steps to collect this information and feedback:

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