Becoming Social: A Special Report ⇢
I am at work on a book called The Business Of Social Business, and I hope to wrap it up in July (fingers crossed). Along the way, I have given a few presentations touching on some of the themes in the book, and I consolidated notes and comments into a what will be forming the first draft of one of the chapters, called Becoming Social. In that chapter I will be using what I call the Becoming Social model as a way to help readers conceptualize sequential stages in the transition from a presocial business through various intervening stages, and in the last stage becoming a social business.
I gave a webinar last week in concert with the nice folks at Trinet, and I offered to share the chapter draft as a special report, so I formatted it and have posted it. Click here to download the report. The form fields are totally optional, but please fill in before hitting submit if you’d like to be informed about other special reports, or the book.
You have to accept the notion of becoming a social business as a realignment of business principles: a shift in thinking about the value of engagement with the marketplace, the community. It’s not like translating your website into French to sell product in France.
Return On Investment, Return On Engagement
Every single major communication advance since the typewriter has been viewed skeptically by the bean-counter side of business, and adoption of telephones, internet, email, cell phones, and iPads has always been preceded by demands for a return on investment (ROI) study. But it’s a total waste of time and effort.
This was carefully researched by Sproull and Keisler in their great work on email in business, called Connections. In digging into the adoption of email they found that the overwhelming majority — over 75% — of the companies that had required an ROI study before adopting email did not actually complete the study. The reason is simple: a few years later, the companies were so committed to operations based on email that they couldn’t possibly back out, even if the promised returns hadn’t materialized. And of course, meanwhile, the entire world of business had adopted email too. It had become a fundamental element of business, whatever the costs.
I have had very little luck, however, using those findings to dissuade operationally-minded executives from requiring ROI studies.
You have to accept the notion of becoming a social business as a realignment of business principles: a shift in thinking about the value of engagement with the marketplace, the community. It’s not like translating your website into French to sell product in France. If you approach it as less than that you will not succeed. It’s best to look for a return on involvement, but not solely in financial terms. For example, it might be better to baseline the rate of innovation in the company, and then measure the rate of new and good ideas being cooked up.
Update: July 11 2012
What is now called the Becoming Social model was called the Social Business Maturity model in an earlier version of the report. I discovered at least three other Social Business Maturity models, so I have changed to avoid confusion.