Growth Via #SocialBusiness : Why Businesses Are Stranded

Just Do ItI discuss #social strategies with many businesses. Everyone understands that it is the way forward. Everyone understands why it has to be sooner than later. But almost everyone takes no action and gets stranded with the decision. They do not move forward. Often during the discussions I hear the reasons.

I talk about mapping their current practices to digital equivalents. That is not easy with their current practices.

Some of the reasons I generally see are:

  • Businesses are not transparent with their employees/customers/stakeholders/partners.
  • Business owners want total control of the situation. They fail to realize that customers don’t need their permissions to talk about them.
  • The team knows they are not good with customer service.
  • Businesses know they are not sincere.
  • They know they do not have great products.
  • They know they want to retain hierarchichal structure with total control.
  • Most of them think customer education will make it difficult for them to sell/serve. So they don’t want to initiate customer education. They think explaining about their products/services, in a way to sell them, is customer education. They are so naive sometimes. They want to wait out till customer learns on their own.

They are more afraid that their not-so-good face will come out openly and hit them badly. They ask me how they can control things. They want to know if there is a way to project only the good face. They ask me if they can partially do whatever. They ask me who will take responsibility.

They are right not going #social with these drawbacks. #social is not a plug-in.

I tell them how they can start and change their businesses using #social and use it as an opporunity to both correct the drawbacks and also to have their dream fulfilled towards the future.

A Secret That Works Well For Me

MindLet me quickly share a secret which works well.
I have been working with #socialbiz (short for Social Business) advisory services and with SME customers in many parts of the world for almost 5 years now in a full-fledged way.
Most of the times customers agree to everything I say but finally ends up with
“I am not yet ready for expenses”
It is always this, when it comes to #socialmedia.
Many of us would agree that it is not true, but we need to accept customers’ answers. What is the way out?
My way out:
I tell them: Ok. I will accept “what you can pay” or “free for certain amout of time” with two riders: 1. I will deal with only the decision-maker while working with your project or company 2. You(the decision-maker) have to put in your time and learn with me.
This is a beautiful filter. If the first objection is false, then customers will find another excuse for this and hence they are not worthy enough to cater to.
If the first objection is genuine, they will take my offer. Once they spend time and learn with me, there is no going back and understand the significance of what I am saying and see the value-for-money. So I win over the client and the trust that develops through this method is long-standing.
Its a win-win situation.

A Lecture On Social Media And Its Impact In Business

YES Chennai 2014

I was invited to give a lecture by YES Chennai Chapter. They heard about my talk at YES Ramnad and invited to deliver this. Word Of Mouth promotion within YES.

A few years before atleast 4-5 people would argue that socialmedia was a fad and it would not work. Now there are no objections and more agreements. Atleast 5-6 people tweet and get connected right at the venue of the talk. A few people follow-up with a “follow” via social networking platforms, email and phone. Thats good sign. Everyone seems to be in agreement that socialmedia can do good and bring about the much needed growth. Hope it moves onto action and business growth in a few years. I try and put in the seed for #socbiz so that they can catch up faster.

2014: Video year for me

This time I hired a person with EOS 5D Mark II camera and had taken some clippings which I can use as promotional videos. I have been thinking of using videos for promotion and looks this year I will give it a try and learn it. This especially looks important  as I advise more customers about using videos for their businesses.

Looks an exciting year ahead with #socialmedia implementation for customers. Keep in touch to know more.

Ramnad: YES Talk Visit


 

 

Assimilate, Share and Practice with #socbiz

Net Practice

Net Practice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was at my kids’ school today for a PTA meeting. The dean of the school talked about ASP as a motto for the school.

ASP: Assimilate, Share, Practice. I thought it is a very relevant message even for businesses in this #socbiz age that we live in.

The dictionary meaning of Assimilate is “take in (information, ideas, or culture) and understand fully”. Businesses today can assimilate more than any time in the past. They can follow thought leaders, competition, customers, their own employees and other stakeholders and take in so much of information, ideas and culture. They have more than the necessary tools to understand them in proper perspective.

The same way they can share such information, ideas and culture with everyone by using #social tools.

The most difficult is to practice. Here lies the key for success. Assimilation and Sharing become pre-requisites to practice and practice makes it a winning strategy. Since it is such an important word, I give here the dictionary meaning of practice as “the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application or use”. Practice also renders more meaning to the assimilation and sharing. Traditionally businesses spend more time, energy & money to assimilate and share the best practices within and outside of the companies. That becomes easier with #socbiz tools with the convergence of #social, #mobile, #cloud and #bigdata.

I thank all those, whom I follow, who help me assimilate the best, I thank all those who follow me and appreciate my sharing. Putting these into practice is what makes us win. One strengthens the other and when done as a process of ASP, we win hands down.

How do you Assimilate, Share and Practice in your business? Feel free to comment.

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Building The #Social Ecosystem

LHI-logo-cuv 200x100When it comes to new technologies or applications around them, we need evangelists to promote them in a generic way. Someone has to be available to show around many aspects of what you need to learn, especially when you have a stiff learning curve. Not everyone has that interests and patience to make it a model for them. Lighthouseinsights.in seems to have that when it comes to #socialmedia. Hence I like them.

Some of us who are in the new space of advising on #social business find it extremely helpful to refer prospects to a neutral place where they can see for themselves what is happening around in the world of #social.  I find Lighthouseinsights.in is a good place for such a reference.  Those articles render credibility to our arguments on why businesses should become #social.

Further I thought I would share what they (applicable to someone similar to them) can do to contribute more to the business community. The following are my thoughts:

  1. Continue “more of the same” as it is good work done. I am finding it easier to refer people to read up a lot of examples in one place and also with more relevance to India. They told me that they would cover the whole of Asia as they go by.
  2. Move to the new #social business news rather than stand-alone #socialmedia strategies. I mean, by #social business, the convergence of #social, #mobile, #cloud and #bigdata.
  3. Interview regular traditional business people and publish what they think. It would be interesting to listen “for” and “against” #social from traditionalists. It will also help a lot of us fine-tune. Ask traditionalists their pain-points and ask specialists what and how they think #social will solve it.
  4. Partner a set of #social biz advisors who can blog for you about various aspects. You can use point 3 to create more relevance for this.
  5. The partner advisors can be used to create awareness programs with various associations, industry bodies and various organizations. Offline promotions will go a long way to gain traction.
  6. Release white papers and e-books on selected topics, which are handy guides to those who are in need.
  7.  Open a #social clinic where you can match the advisors (specialists of social media, cloud, mobile, bigdata) and business needs (customers) for an exclusive Q&A between both. They already post jobs related to this field.
  8. Have a sponsored kiosk in physical traditional events to promote awareness.
  9. Newsletters, Webinars and on-demand workshops.
  10. You are doing a great job of not promoting tools but examples of business applications with those tools. Kudos and continue with that.

Please do add others that you know who do a similar job of promoting #social with news and examples. It will be useful to refer. It will contribute to the ecosystem of businesses.

 

Start With Your Objectives To Achieve Them

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Customer Scenario #1:

One of my customers(SBU) is doing a turnover of X in their business. They want to achieve a growth of y%, add new customers, serve existing customers better and know more trends for growth in their line of business. They have listed out their resources and also ways to achieve them traditionally. Part of the resources they are ready to deploy towards newer strategies. Now the customer wants to evaluate what-social-tools are all about, what are the tools they should concentrate on and how these chosen tools can help them achieve those results and move forward being a better company.

We are discussing what it takes to implement the strategy, resources, controls, work flow integration or disruption that it might bring about, metrics, measurement, risks and results including RoI. We are on our way to make a check-list with timeline, milestones, reviews etc…

I am pretty confident that this customer will soon be on top of his new strategy and transform his business using social tools.

Customer Scenario #2:

One of my customers want to know what-social-tools are all about, want to learn all about them, want to be proved how that might fit their businesses, want to be assured about the results that it can bring, the problems it can solve etc etc. They are very enthusiastic about new tools and strategies and the company is looking forward to use Social tools and transform their company to a modern one for growth.

We are discussing what-social-tools are all about, examples of companies who have initiated usage of social tools and have seen traction and results, opinions of experts and trying to understand what more needs to be done. Several rounds of presentations are being asked and served.

I think that they might gain traction in understanding or might think social tools are not for them or might think it is a hype and waste of time or might think I am trying to sell them my knowledge or might come up saying that they are not sure or are not comfortable since there is no assurance. They might take a long time to achieve real business results. I am not sure which way the customer would go.

What do you think is a better way to go about? See the video where I give another metaphor. (note: The volume of the video is low unless heard with earphones. I am still learning my tools of video making. Promise better ones in the future).

Feel free to share. Feel free to comment. Feel free to buzz me for a discussion. I will be happy to discuss with you.

 

 

Social Protocol Remains The Same

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Connecting The Social Dots

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Its time to think BIG. Its time to connect the social dots for your business. Go Social, Go Mobile, Go Cloud and learn to use Big Data to your advantage. Connect these social dots for your business growth. These are the future dots of businesses. The best possible future for your business comes from connecting these dots.

Apart from all the social media that we know that we put to work for our business, my friend Krish gave a wonderful view on Social as a source of data and Social as data, in the recent Imagine2020 talk of his at Chennai.

You know how you do business. Check how business gets done or what are the underlying changes that has happened recently. That will give you an idea of how your organization should change for the future.

To compete in the marketplace with better sales, customer service, worker productivity and to grasp with trends of products of the future that your customers look forward to Social is becoming a must. Social will make you highly competitive. Social will help you survive, thrive and grow better.

Organizational, structural, cultural, regulatory and legal barriers might exist. But these can be overcome with a proper understanding and transition done to move towards being a Social Business.

Happy New Year 2013 and here is Wishing you and your business lots of growth with Social tools in the coming years.

Social Business Company

I had worked with good companies that had great culture and encouraged networking as a way of work. To give you a context, this was much before email was used for business.

The companies encouraged as many “meets” as possible (read the term “meets” in the sense of “assemble” or “convene”). Team meets, Brand meets, Company meets, Distributor meets and Customer meets. It would look like the companies were inventing a reason to make everyone meet. While some companies considered these meetings a waste of time and money, the companies which got sold on this way of work encouraged these meetings by all means and spent quite a budget to make it happen.

The beauty of such meetings is people who are participants of these meets made the meetings happen and shared a lot of work and strived to create more value from their side. Everyone tried to excel with their contribution and tried to show-off by adding value.

Let me tell you a simple example of a team meeting. It involved a hotel conference room, good food, timely snacks and coffee during intervals, drinking water during the meeting, projectors and mikes, stationery, paper work, logistics of personnel and a great deal of communication.  Each activity was done by a participant by volunteering or by assignment.  Since if something went wrong it would be seen as inefficiency of that person for the assigned(mostly volunteered) task, everybody did it well to prove and also get praised. Each individual contributions used to look manageable and small but viewed in the context of the meeting, it would have simply made the meeting wonderful. The meetings involved each individual presenting on his markets and the rest of team questioning/commenting on it to exchange ideas and adding value.

Take another example of customer meets. Company will sketch out the objectives and framework to operate. Employees will add the variations for the meets depending on the area. The distributors will localize it and also involve top customers. The whole team of company executives, employees, distributors and customers will make the meet a grand success and look like a festival for the brand. Visibility, more customers and growth are the results achieved.

When people got transferred from one team to another, they carried those practices and learnt new ones and over time, people followed the best practices everywhere in the organization. We had many instances of small teams bringing in major changes within the company.

Not only team meetings with company employees, all above said “meets” happened the same way including business partners(distributors) and even customers. We had witnessed many occasions where customers used to participate as if they owned the brand and were involved as if its their own function at home. As a result, both their value and the value of the company they represented grew.

Such a way of work was possible because the company believed everyone could contribute. Such a open networking way of work taught people good lessons and improved average productivity, efficiency and learning. It also promoted competitiveness and leaders emerged from such situations. These companies were market leaders and had strong brands, ever increasing market shares, low attrition rates, ever expanding markets and never had to look out for leaders of future outside of their companies. They promoted from within.

While some companies were struggling to understand such ways of work and had highly restrictive practices, practising companies used to wonder “how-else can you function?”. This looks amazingly easy or extremely tough. It depends on the understanding and practicing of the basic fundamentals of how business happens and creating a culture to nurture the same. The companies I worked did everything to nurture such a healthy system.

The beauty of this is the fact it works amazingly and produces the best results possible from employees, partners and customers. These companies made Business a way of life for everyone involved.

Cut to Present….

Today the available tools and technologies can make such an ecosystem not only work better but also the scale at which this can be done are enormous.

If you are open, encourage participation for value creation with employees, business partners and customers to achieve your business objectives with today’s tools and technologies in a massive scale, you have a new name: Social Business Company.

Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com