When you combine identity, ease of publishing, and the penchant to publish and to use shared information in purchase-related decision-making processes, the larger role of the Social Feedback Cycle and the practice of social business emerges: Larger than the loop that connects sales with marketing—one of the areas considered as part of traditional Customer Relationship Management (CRM)—the
Social Feedback Cycle
Literally wraps the entire business. Consider an organization like Freescale, a spin-off of Motorola. Freescale uses YouTube for a variety of sanctioned purposes, including as a place for current employees to publish videos about their jobs as engineers: The purpose is the encouragement of prospective employees—given the chance to see “inside Freescale”—to more strongly consider working for Freescale.
Or, look at an organization like Coca-Cola: Coke is reducing its dependence on branded microsites in favor of consumer-driven social sites like Facebook for building connections with customers. Coke is also directly tapping customer tastes through its Coca Cola Freestyle vending machines that let consumers mix their own Coke flavors. Comcast and may other firms now use Twitter as a customer-support channel.
The list of examples of the direct integration of collaborative and shared publishing applications in business—beyond marketing—is growing rapidly. I explore all these applications of social technology in business in greater detail in subsequent chapters. For now, the simple question is, “What do all of these applications have in common?”
The answer is, “Each of them has a larger footprint than: Social Media and Customer Engagement
Marketing.” Each directly involves multiple disciplines within the organization to create an experience that is shared and talked about favorably. These are examples not of social media marketing, but of social business practices. Importantly, these are also examples of a reversed message flow:
The participation and hence marketplace information is coming from the consumers and is heading toward the business. Traditionally, over mass media it’s been the other way around. In each of the previous examples of social business thinking and applications, it is the business that is listening to the customer.
What is being learned as a result of this listening and participation is then tapped internally to change, sustain, or improve specific customer experiences. When subsequently tied to business objectives, the practice of social business becomes holistic indeed.