Social Media and the Need for New Business Models

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					Social Media and the Need for Business Models
By Brian Solis, blogger at and principal of FutureWorks, Author of the highly
acclaimed book on social business Engage!

Who owns social media? Is it marketing, customer service, public relations?

Looking at a recent study conducted by the Pivot Conference, the top four departments where social
media is currently run are as follows:

1. Marketing
2. Public Relations
3. Sales
4. Customer Service

Perhaps, it’s the wrong question to ask however. It’s not unlike asking who owns email. But, here’s
another question and as we think about it, let’s broaden our perspective as the answer may not
appear immediately.

Who owns the customer relationship?

The short answer is everyone.

If that is the case, then examining how social media is run today is not at all how businesses should
think about it tomorrow. A not so long answer to the original question is “any person or department
affected by outside activity where public interaction impacts decisions.”

Businesses tend to have a single or narrow view of the customer and as we’re learning, they’re
connecting with one another and sharing experiences that transform their roles from prospect to
advocate to adversary to influencer and everything in between.

Social media is not about conversations on Twitter and Facebook nor check-ins on Foursquare or
Places, or flipped videos on YouTube. It’s about using this opportunity to build bridges to a new
genre of customers and the people who influence their decisions. Our mission now is to pave paths
to future relevance. The reality is that we are as much competing for the future as we are for the
moment. And as a result, we are perpetually competing for relevance.

We can blame it on process, hierarchy, ignorance, lack of budget and anything and everything
standing in our way. Or, we can own the acts of socializing the company using social media as a

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
banner for customer centricity across the organization. Maybe we could all follow the advice from my
dear friend Hugh MacLeod (@GapingVoid) and create our own #Evilplan for change. Then grab a
pair of self-sharpening industrial scissors and run through the hallways to begin the long and
arduous process of cutting red tape to free people to collaborate internally and externally.

Someone has to do it.

Without you, even though we’re operating with the best of intentions in social media, we are still
operating from silos. The customer however, does not see silos, they sees the company as one. It’s
time for anintegrated approach to create an adaptive business, a collaborative business, an
aspirational business….a business of one.

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
Brian Solis is globally recognized as one of most prominent thought leaders and
published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has
studied and influenced the effects of emerging media in business, culture and the
convergence of marketing, communications, and publishing. He is principal of
FutureWorks, an award-winning business management and New Media consultancy in
San Francisco and has led change management and social programs for Fortune 500
companies, notable celebrities, and Web 2.0 startups. is ranked among
the top of world's leading business and marketing websites.

Solis is the author of Engage! The complete guide for businesses to build, cultivate and
measure success in the new Web.

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook
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(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis

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Description: A recent study was conducted by the Pivot Conference to see the top four areas where social media was being conducted. The article further dives into ask the question, Who owns the customer relationship?