The challenges facing global businesses and the people who lead them are now, more than ever, intertwined in the direct empowerment and involvement of customers and stakeholders. The World Wide Web described by Sir Tim Berners-Lee as an interactive sea of shared knowledge made of the things we and our friends have seen, heard, believe or have figured out has dramatically accelerated the shift to consumer-driven markets.
For millennia, power has rested with those resources: first with land, then capital, and most recently, information. In a socially connected marketplace, shared knowledge is now emerging as the ultimate resource. Information wants to be free, and in these new markets it is: free of constraints on place, free of control on content, and free of restrictive access on consumption.
Social technologies, on a mass scale, connect people in ways that facilitate sharing information, thereby reducing the opportunities for marketplace exploitation whether by charging more than a competing supplier for otherwise identical goods and services or charging anything at all for products that simply don’t work. Sunlight is a powerful disinfectant, and the collective knowledge that powers the Social Web is the sunlight that shines in these new connected marketplaces. The Social Web dramatically levels the playing field by making information plentiful, just as it also levels businesses and organizations that operate on the principles of making information scarce
How to Use This Book
This book has three parts: Taking a tip from one of the reviewers of my prior book, I’ve written this one so that you don’t have to read the whole book! I recognize that you were already busy before you purchased this book, and that the true cost of any social media program at least at the outset very much includes the opportunity cost of your time. So, here’s how the book works
Social Business Fundamentals
At just over 100 pages, Part I will get you up-to-speed quickly on the primary aspects of social technology and how it applies to business. Its four chapters include plenty of examples and references to experts and thought leaders freely accessible via the Web, along with a set of hands-on exercises that will provide you with a firm grasp of social technology, applied to business
Run a Social Business
takes you deeper into the application of social technology to your business or organization, showing you how business decisions are informed through collaborative software and surrounding processes. Part II provides a starting point for measurement and, like Part I, includes references and pointers that quickly take you further as you develop your specific social business programs and initiatives. Part II concludes with a set of tips and best practices, along with a couple of things not to do—and what to do instead
Social Business Building Blocks
More abstract than Parts I and II, Part III includes cases and examples that bring the essential core social concepts to life. Engagement and Customer Advocacy, Social CRM, social objects, and the social graph are all covered (and defined) to give a you a solid understanding of the principles of social business and the use of social technology. Each of the five chapters in Part III presents one key concept, in depth and again with hands-on exercises and additional pointers to online references and thought leaders.