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Social Media and the Need for New Business Models

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 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 an integrated approach to create an adaptive business, a collaborative business, an aspirational business….a business of one.

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45 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Social Media and the Need for New Business Models”

  1. John Barlowe says:

    “The customer… sees the company as one.”

    Similar to the united front parents must put forth when teaching a child; one parent cannot provide direction that conflicts with their spouse’s direction…. Companies, too, must understand that the customer must be offered a ‘united front’ view… the whole, not the parts.

  2. Hi
    This is so true! social media is an effective tool to get exposure and for creating brand awareness. the best part of social media is that you can have others opinion about your product.. i guess this is the only reason why we are seeing such a huge turnouts of companies in media’s like FB & Twitter and Linkedin

  3. RL COMM l Social Media Expert says:

    Thank you for your great article! Social media is for everyone; that’s how successful social media is. And being in social media we need to create good credentials too; in order to gain trust..

  4. Steve McAllister says:

    As with most of what you write and share through your show, you are right on. Because of the technological possibilities we have with social media and the Internet at large, and because of the ineptitude of government to take care of all of the ills of the world (and because there is no reason an empowered people need to be reliant on government), I think it is time that we started looking at new business models for online commerce and the opportunities they can create.

    My suggestion is what I like to call the WeBMaP. If we can look at the four basic social groups as Artists, Businesses, Charities, and Consumers, and create transactions whereby a portion of each goes to each of the parties involved, I believe that we could find ourselves with a balanced and sustainable economic system. The idea is building, but I truly believe it is going to resonate with you…


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