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Social business - Terrifying Leap of Faith
Ben Langhinrichs    

In my previous posts in this series, Look out the window rather than into a mirror and You should have learned it in preschool, I pointed out that when thinking about a social business, you need to remember that others are not just like you, and that not all attempts at social business will succeed.  In this post, I'll expand on that.

One of the reasons that becoming a social business is so difficult for a big company like IBM, as much as it believes and wants to take that route, is that being a social business entails a lot of risk. Encouraging your people to blog and tweet and respond in real-time means losing most of your control over what they say. How many times has Steve Mills be derided for referring to Lotus Notes as a "legacy" application? Letting your executives and product managers and developers out there into the wild means owning what they all say.

Even worse than the risk is the lack of immediate, measurable benefits. No matter how they try, your bean counters won't be able to measure the force of having Ed Brill work so well with the public. To take a non-IBM example, many businesses have taken to establishing Twitter account, not for the purpose of spewing propaganda, but for the purpose of taking complaints, publicly. SouthWest Airlines, for example, has a Twitter account at http://twitter.com/SouthWest.  A moment ago, I did a screen shot of the past few tweets mentioning that account. That first tweet shows the possible benefit to the social business, with a public, unsolicited compliment. The second is a minor complaint. The third and fifth are awareness-raising without any real positive or negative spin, and the fourth is a flat out, "You Suck!" complaint aired publicly.





The leap of faith is that being out there will benefit you more than not being out there. I have run a social business for years. I do almost no advertising, and never have, with all my business coming from word of mouth, plus relentless marketing and improvements.

Are the risks worth the benefit? Yes. IBM knows it, and is willing to take the risks along with the leap. Are you?


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http://www.GeniiSoft.com/showcase.nsf/archive/20110215-1111
Feb 15, 2011
27 hits



Recent Blog Posts
169


CoexLinks Fidelity 3.65 available
Fri, Oct 17th 2014 9:03a   Ben Langhinrichs
Last night, Genii Software released CoexLinks Fidelity Version 3.65. This release incorporates three major updates as well as bug fixes and minor enhancements since the previous release. Version 3.65 is currently available for Windows 32-bit and Windows 64-bit, and it is planned that the Linux version will be available next week. Update 1 - 30% performance enhancementWith a complete code review and numerous changes to streamline, we have achieved a 30% or better improvement in email processing. [read] Keywords: rich text bug database email linux server
164


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Thu, Oct 16th 2014 11:42a   Ben Langhinrichs
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1285


Animated flowchart tutorial - video editing technique
Thu, Sep 18th 2014 12:03p   Ben Langhinrichs
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256


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Wed, Sep 17th 2014 10:52a   Ben Langhinrichs
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276


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122


Saving Grace - a different sort of haunted house story
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260


Are videos like blog posts or like product pages?
Thu, Sep 11th 2014 7:26a   Ben Langhinrichs
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224


Closed captions on videos - four reasons to add them
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304


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407


Domino Blog to Wordpress - an Alan Birthday vlog
Wed, Sep 3rd 2014 6:33p   Ben Langhinrichs
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