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The Social OrganizationWhile increasing numbers of organizations are investing in social media technology, few are successfully using it to create value through mass collaboration. In The Social Organization, social media experts Anthony Bradley and Mark McDonald explain how firms can leverage these tools to innovate and solve problems faster and better than traditional companies. The authors provide frameworks and proven techniques that any manager can apply to rally people around a collective purpose; launch an effective collaborative environment; guide collaboration toward meaningful goals; and adapt internal culture and systems to support collaboration as it evolves and helps the organization outperform the competition.

Social media can be used by any organization to enable mass collaboration. But “social organizations” are ahead of all others in ensuring that collaboration delivers value and creates a competitive edge. Becoming a social organization involves the following actions and priorities:

  1. At the heart of a social organization is not social media technology itself but the mass collaboration it enables. Mass collaborative efforts succeed by enlisting the interests, knowledge, talent, and experience of all stakeholders in pursuing shared goals and creating value.
  2. Social media efforts rarely succeed without management guidance and support. Too much management involvement can stifle collaboration, but too little creates significant risk that the initiative will lose its focus and its alignment with organizational strategy.
  3. Becoming a social organization begins with a vision statement. A vision statement serves two purposes: it articulates leadership’s belief in the value of collaboration, and it identifies specific opportunities where collaboration can add value to the firm.
  4. Organizations need a community collaboration strategy to guide their social media priorities and investment decisions. A strategy should identify which collaborative communities the organization sanctions, when and how it will support them, what behaviors will be encouraged, and what benefits the organization expects to receive from the collaboration effort.
  5. In addition to planning and supporting collaborative efforts in general, organizations need to cultivate the individual communities that make up their collaboration portfolios. Cultivating a community requires specification of its purpose and a business justification that identifies its benefits and costs.
  6. While too much interference from above can stifle collaboration, appropriate management guidance is essential to creating a sustainable social organization. Managers must ensure that collaboration works productively, that participants stay focused on its purpose, and that the organization’s broader systems and functions support the collaborative effort.
  7. Effective managers guide the collaborative community based on its purpose, progress, and direction. To provide appropriate guidance, managers should view the community as a group, track progress toward its purpose, continually assess the value of its purpose to the organization, and seek new, high-potential purposes.
  8. By adapting processes and power structures to the needs of the collaborative community, managers make the organization safe for mass collaboration. A social organization is safe for collaboration when all stakeholders recognize its value and potential and all functions are aligned to support it.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

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95798493The process of selling has transformed dramatically with the advent of social media, and customers are abandoning traditional purchasing influences in favor of online digital marketing stimuli. This means that businesses that want new customers will have to devote some skillful efforts to reaching them through social media channels. In The Art of Social Selling, Shannon Belew describes how to use social media to enhance marketing and sales success. She emphasizes that social selling success comes from building relationships via social networking sites, blogs, and online communities, as well as through the professional use of practical sales strategies tailored to the specifics of the different platforms.

 Success in social selling will come to those who understand the following:

  • Social sellers need to maintain positive personae online. This means being genuine and sincere, listening carefully, and responding to customer or prospect concerns.
  • Engaging with sales prospects will require increasing levels of mobility. The number of people using mobile devices to view information and interact on social networking sites is growing constantly, providing tremendous marketing and sales opportunities.
  • Social selling is based on relationship building. This means establishing trust and offering value to develop mutually beneficial relationships.
  • A salesperson on a social media site needs to be viewed as a go-to resource. This means that a salesperson who is active in a forum, group, or other community must contribute and engage frequently to become a trusted influencer.
  • Social selling efforts should be targeted carefully. Indiscriminately spreading a message over all the top social networking sites is impractical. It is better to look to those few sites where prospects spend the most time and will be most likely to see the message.
  • Social indicators are highly useful in identifying and reaching potential customers. These indicators are the items of information found on social networking channels, blogs, forums, and groups that give clear signs that a person needs a product or is curious about it.
  • A valuable component of effective social selling strategy is the establishment of a schedule of social media posts that will invite conversations. This is best done by creating a calendar that sets out what, when, and where the user will post content or conversation starters.
  • Social selling requires teamwork. This means that customer service, marketing, and sales teams must fully understand their responsibilities and work together.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: Do It! Marketing, Content to Commerce, The Mobile Marketing Revolution

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9781118393772_cover.inddSocial media has become a mainstream marketing tool must for any business that wants to succeed in today’s competitive environment. Pinterest, a social media tool centered on creating and sharing collections of digital images by “pinning” them to digital bulletin boards, is rapidly joining Facebook and Twitter as an essential avenue for reaching and appealing to customers. In Pinfluence, social media guru, blogger, and Pinterest expert Beth Hayden provides a step-by-step method for business professionals to engage customers and grow their businesses by leveraging the power of Pinterest.

According to Hayden:

  • For an ever-increasing group of savvy business owners, Pinterest is a must-have component of their marketing strategies. Pinterest is easy to use, has emotional appeal, and is a great way to drive traffic to a business’s website and increase sales. The number of businesses that are using Pinterest is increasing rapidly.
  • Pinterest should not be used “standalone,” without strategic intent. For the best results, Pinterest must be strategically positioned within a broader marketing strategy and work in an integrated way with other social media channels to appeal to defined target audiences.
  • Combining images and words has the most impact. Pinterest provides both. Descriptions that accompany pins can be as important as the images themselves, capturing the viewer’s attention and creating a personal connection. Descriptions provide the opportunity to inject honesty and humor, which can help build trust and deepen relationships.
  • Pinterest is all about creating connections. Growing a following is just as important as choosing what content to pin to the boards. Pinterest has several built-in connection tools for drawing in new followers. All efforts to build a following should be centered on attracting the pre-defined ideal client.
  • Pinterest pins must add value for followers, not sell to them. While Pinterest as a business tool is intended to drive increased profits, it should be implemented in a way that brings value to customers, either in terms of solving a problem or entertaining them. It should not be used to sell them something.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: Likeable Social Media, Going Social, Engagement Marketing

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If you take a look through any of the top online review sites, such as Yelp, Google Places, Citysearch, or MerchantCircle, it won’t take long to find consumers voicing their (sometimes harsh) opinions of businesses and retailers. Today, consumers have access to more product and company information than ever before. Not only does this help people make better purchasing decisions, but it also allows those same people to sing a company’s praises or air their personal grievances. On top of consumers’ ability to vocalize their love or hate of a company, the Internet has created a system in which consumers regularly compare services of different companies. If they can get superior service from one company, shouldn’t all companies be able to provide that same top-notch service? How should companies go about competing in such an atmosphere, and how can they balance customer needs with profitability?

In Wired and Dangerous, Chip R. Bell and John R. Patterson attempt to answer these questions. They believe customer service is in a transition phase between the age of technology and the age of the customer. They believe today’s customers are different because they get outstanding service from some providers (like Zappos) and use that as a benchmark; they have more undifferentiated choices, so they are turning to the service experience as a differentiator. The old rules of customer service no longer apply. Service providers today need to deliver fast, easy service, while ensuring that customers are treated like respected partners.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service, @Your Service, The Conversation Company

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Although Google’s new social media site Google+ has only been out for a few weeks now, it is reported that over 20 million users have registered on the site already. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ have become the go-to communication tools for keeping in touch with friends and family. They are easy to use, connect users to hundreds of contacts at once, and allow people to share their thoughts and interests with a single click.

Lately, many organizations have been trying to capture this same sense of community and sharing  within their own companies as a way of increasing institutional learning. I ran across the below video that explains some ways to make these initiatives more successful:

Related book summaries in the BBS library: Social Media at Work, Driving Results through Social Networks, Socialnomics

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Today’s workforce is more diverse than ever, and in order to succeed, savvy businesses are looking to the emerging world of social media to help employees build relationships and solve problems together. In Social Media at Work, the authors outline the benefits of social media and provide step-by-step processes for designing and implementing strategies that harness its power.

Social media is here to stay, and its benefits and applications will only continue to grow in number. At some point, social media will not be a competitive advantage; it will be a “table stake”—a cost necessary to attract and retain workers in the 21st century. Social Media at Work provides a comprehensive guide for forward-thinking executives looking to leverage the power of social media and foster collaboration, build more effective and agile organizations, and sustain competitiveness.

For a free trial of EBSCO Business Book Summaries click here.

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Customers and investors demand much from modern companies. They require absolute integrity, full disclosure of financials and business practices, and dialogue with company managers, and in the age of social media they have the power to police those companies and spread the “buzz” about them, both positive and negative.

In Tactical Transparency, Shel Holtz and John C. Havens write that businesses have the power to turn this demand for transparency into a strength. Companies such as Apple, McDonald’s, and JetBlue Airways do not resist demands for transparency but meet and exceed them. They enjoy trust from their employees and considerable trust equity from customers.

For a free trial of EBSCO Business Book Summaries click here.

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