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The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 23, 2012 • Issue 12:01:02

Book Review
The business of being social

Heads up, ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs), it will no longer suffice to just employ social media in your business, you must turn your enterprise into a social business from the inside out, and this will require a cultural shift, one that transforms the way your business is structured and how colleagues and partners interact with one another, as well as with customers and prospects - so says Michael Brito, author of Smart Business, Social Business: A Playbook for Social Media in Your Organization.

In his role as a Vice President at consulting firm Edelman Digital, Brito provides strategic counsel, guidance and best practices to several global technology accounts. He has hands-on experience spearheading social media initiatives at a range of organizations and believes marketers need to spend more time listening to the social customer and that if "brands love their customers," their customers will "love them back and tell others about it."

Brito stated that the three tenets of a social business are that it be engaged, connected and adaptive, and these tenets can be used as pillars to prepare a business for engagement in what he defined as a "market in transition."

The book's 12 chapters cover the following:

    1. Human Capital, Evolved - explains how to drive cultural change in the social business, tear down silos for organizational growth, turn failures into successes, gain executive sponsorship to facilitate change, activate employees to engage in social media and establish continuity. It also discusses standard social business organizational models and who owns social media.

    2. Surveying the Technology Supermarket - describes how to choose the right social software, social listening software and social relationship management applications, and discusses such programs as Jive, Microsoft SharePoint, IBM, Box.net, Tibbr, Yammer and Cisco WebEx Meeting Center. The chapter also delves into the future of external social technologies, including the ascendance of Facebook and likely network consolidation.

    3. Establishing a Governance Model - discusses how to craft social media policies and procedures, while keeping transparency, disclosure and moderation in mind; how to train your organization or team for maximum organizational intelligence using noncompetitive collaboration; and the value in establishing social media executive councils.

    4. Embracing the Social Customer - explains the role social media practitioners play in effectively engaging social customers, how to integrate customer support into social media and how to use social media to solicit product feedback.

    5. In Response to the Social Customer: Social CRM - offers definitions for social customer relationship management (CRM), and discusses how the social CRM response process fits in with work flow, various applications of social CRM, and the roles and responsibilities involved. It also spotlights promising social CRM vendors.

    6. Establishing a Measurement Philosophy - provides guidance on how to select a measurement strategy that works, how to measure the influence of social channels and discusses the challenges involved in measurement, as well as the value of a Facebook fan.

    7. How to Choose the Right Vendors, Agencies and Technology Partners - explains exactly what the chapter's title says and provides insight into an organization's culture and leadership, technology feature sets, in addition to support, training and maintenance considerations.

    8. Marketing Investments on the Rise for Social Business Initiatives - discusses how to demonstrate the business value of social media in order to obtain budget approval, how organizations are prioritizing social media budgets and how to determine what your social media budget should be.

    9. Creating a Comprehensive Social Media Strategic Plan - offers instruction on how to define the mission, goals, objectives, strategy and tactics for a social media plan; understand audience segmentation; and integrate social media with owned and paid media initiatives.

    10. The Rise of Customer Advocacy - explains the difference between influencers and advocates (advocates love the brand and tell others about it; influencers affect the decisions of people in their sphere, but are not necessarily advocates); how to create a customer advocacy program through organizational readiness, finding the right advocates and choosing the right advocate platform.

    11. Ethical Bribe: Relevant Content Matters - details how relevant content creates business value; happens as a result of listening; positions a brand as a trusted adviser; is relevant, authentic and believable; builds trust with the community; increases the reach of branded messages; and increases "organic" search results.

    12. Social Businesses in the Real Word: EMC and Intel - describes in detail how two leading technology companies, EMC Corp. and Intel Corp., evolved into social businesses from their early days of social media involvement into organizations that have created social media strategies and successfully integrated social media into the heart of their organizations.

Our society is increasingly influenced by social media, and the right kind of social engagement has been shown to foster customer loyalty. Given that merchant stickiness is prized in the payments business, becoming a truly social business could give ISOs a competitive edge.

Leaders wanting to take their companies, large or small, beyond making the most of LinkedIn or creating Facebook fan pages will find solid information on how to do so in this book. end of article

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