Social technologies, on a mass scale, connect people in ways that facilitate sharing information, thereby reducing the opportunities for marketplace exploitation whether by charging more than a competing supplier for otherwise identical goods and services or charging anything at all for products that simply don’t work. Sunlight is a powerful disinfectant, and the collective knowledge that powers the Social Web is the sunlight that shines in these new connected marketplaces. The Social Web dramatically levels the playing field by making information plentiful, just as it also levels businesses and organizations that operate on the principles of making information scarce.
The Social Web exposes the good, the bad, and the ugly, simultaneously raising up what works and putting down what doesn’t without regard for the interests of any specific party. Web 2.0 technologies—expressed through social CRM, vendor relationship management, collective ideation, customer-driven support forums, and communities where participants engage in all forms of social discourse—act together to equalize the market positions of suppliers, manufacturers, business and organizational leaders, customers and stakeholders.
How to Use This Book
This book has three parts: Taking a tip from one of the reviewers of my prior book, I’ve written this one so that you don’t have to read the whole book! I recognize that you were already busy before you purchased this book and that the true cost of any social media program—at least at the outset very much includes the opportunity cost of your time. So, here’s how the book works
Social Business Fundamentals
At just over 100 pages, Part I will get you up-to-speed quickly on the primary aspects of social technology and how it applies to business. Its four chapters include plenty of examples and references to experts and thought leaders freely accessible via the Web, along with a set of “hands-on” exercises that will provide you with a firm grasp of social technology, applied to business.
Run a Social Business
takes you deeper into the application of social technology to your business or organization, showing you how business decisions are informed through collaborative software and surrounding processes. Part II provides a starting point for measurement and, like Part, I, includes references and pointers that quickly take you further as you develop your specific social business programs and initiatives. Part II concludes with a set of tips and best practices, along with a couple of things not to do—and what to do instead
Social Business Building Blocks
More abstract than Parts I and II, Part III includes cases and examples that bring the essential core social concepts to life. Engagement and Customer Advocacy, Social CRM, social objects, and the social graph are all covered (and defined) to give you a solid understanding of the principles of social business and the use of social technology. Each of the five chapters in Part III presents one key concept, in-depth and again with hands-on exercises and additional pointers to online references and thought leaders.
What This Means
- If you read Parta you’ll understand the basic concepts well enough to participate on a team that is suggesting, planning, or otherwise requesting your involvement in a social business initiative for or within your organization. If that’s you, you can stop at the end of Part I. Of course, you may not want to, but then that’s your choice.
- If you read Part II, you’ll be informed well enough to question or guide a specific implementation of social business practices. If you are a business or organization executive, or a process leader within one that is championing a social business initiative, you should consider reading at least through Part II, and especially “What Not to Do” in Chapter 7
- If you read Part III, you’ll have a solid handle on the underlying concepts along with the resources and pointers to actually plan and implement social technologies. You’ll be prepared to actively participate in the design of social-technology-based solutions for your business or organization. If you are responsible for such an implementation, or if you are planning to undertake a project like this yourself, you should read through Part III.