So far this chapter has covered two primary topics: The importance of understanding the mechanics of the Social Web and the Social Feedback Cycle, and the collaborative inflection-point within the larger social engagement process. Engagement has been redefined for social business as a more active (participative) notion compared with the decidedly more passive definition of engagement reading an ad or mechanically interacting with a microsite typically applied in traditional media, where terms like Engagement Ad literally means an ad you can click on to see more promo copy. That’s not what participants on the Social Web think of as engaging, as the Social Web is a distinctly participation-centric place
The final section ties the mechanical processes of the social technologies together with the acts of participation and collaboration, and establishes the foundational role of the entire business or organization in setting up for success on the Social Web.
The Social Feedback Cycle the loop that connects the published experiences of current customers or other stakeholders with potential customers or other stakeholders is powered by the organization and what it produces. This is a very different proposition from a traditional view of marketing where the message is controlled by an agency and the experience is controlled in isolation by the product or services teams and others.
Your Customers Want to Help
While it may surprise you, your own customers are part of the solution. They are often the biggest source of assistance you’ve got. Flip back to the engagement process: Consumption, curation, creation, collaboration. At the point that your customers are collaborating with each other, it is very likely that they are also more than willing to provide direct inputs for the next generation of your product or service, or offer tips on what they think you can quickly implement now.
Starbucks’ customers have been busy using the Salesforce.com-based My Starbucks Idea platform. Since implementation in 2008, about 80,000 ideas have been submitted with over 200 direct innovations as a result. Based on direct customer input, Starbucks has been averaging two innovations introduced per week. That’s impressive, and it pays off in business results.
Review and Hands-On
This chapter connects the current practice of social-media-based marketing—a reality in many business and service organizations now—with the more fundamental Social Media and C ustomer E ngagementâ application of the same technologies at a “whole-organization” level. In other words, social business is the next generation of customer engagement: it connects customers to employees, links unstructured conversational data to structured business data, and recognizes that the same desire to collaborate in the pursuit of better decisions exists both inside and outside your firm.