I believe social business is the future of business. Social business will be the way business is done in the future and eventually what we know currently as social business will just become “business”.
I have come up with my definition of Social Business.
Restoring the equilibrium of power, to make the values, interests and beliefs of the customer/employee equal to those of the company
Up until now the company has always dictated the way that the relationship works. A company decides what they want to sell and for how much. A customer’s only power is whether to buy it or not. That balance is now changing thanks to the social web. Multi national companies such as HSBC have been forced to change the decisions they have made due to a Facebook group set up against them. Even countries have been disrupted such as when the now historic action was taken during the Arab Spring.
Companies need to understand how social business will affect them before it is too late.
The above diagram shows a shared set of values. Every decision a company makes needs to favour the individual’s interests as much as their own. I will explain each of the values in more detail.
Both parties need to believe that it is right for them to do business together. Is it a good fit for both sides?
A company wants to create a desirable brand and an individual wants to buy a desirable product which says something about their choice of product.
For obvious reasons a company wants to grow but an individual should want the company to grow so it can continue to provide new products and new versions to help with their future needs.
A company wants to have the best product so people want to buy it and an individual wants to buy the best product to help with their needs.
Companies try to squeeze every penny of profit out their customers and their customers try to get every penny discount they can. Instead both parties should be aiming for an agreeable fair price.
Companies always want to reduce their costs so they make more money. A consumer would want this too if they knew where the saved money was going. For example a company could say: If we cut our costs by 5% we will pass these savings on to you in price reductions or we have more money to invest in R&D so our next product will be able to be faster/better/bigger/longer/stronger etc.
Companies always want loyal customers who continue to spend more money with them but a customer would also want loyalty from the company. They want to buy a product and know that the company will be there for them if they have a problem and when they want to buy another product in the future.
Companies always want to get the most value out of their customers but a customer wants the same thing too. If a customer invests money in buying a product from a company they want to know that they are going to get good value so that in the long term that company will be able to support their needs going forward.
Social business will help to accelerate the natural selection of business – like the evolution of species. The good will grow bigger and stronger and the weak will disappear and become extinct.
Social business forces companies to be more honest, open and transparent. You cannot hide things from your customers any more. If you are making decisions within your business that do not have your customers best interests at heart, then you will be exposed. You need to imagine a customer is sitting in you board room when you make decisions. Think about how they would react to that decision and how it would affect them. If you do this then it maybe a good barometer for you to use to make better decisions.
Social business is the future. It will only be truly successful when “Joe Bloggs” on the street decides that the ideas and theories behind “social business” is just “business”.
As always I would love your input. What do you think about these views? Do you think social is the future of business? Do you think companies need to be more customer centric or can they get away with not putting its customers as high up their priorities as they should?