#1: Unlock Your Small Business Social Potential with Google+
In regards to social media, our attention is often fixated on one single aspect of being a social - marketing & advertising. Sure, it’s fundamental. However, there are 6 more distinct activities that truly social businesses engage in (Social Business Patterns discussed below). Being truly social requires big investments in social software such as IBM Connect, Sharepoint + Yammer, Salesforce.com + Chatter and more.
Google products, with Google+ in their core, are not there yet to compete with software designed to tailor to the needs of specific task groups. But so are not most small businesses there yet to compete with the big internationals. Precisely because of that, Google+ is the
platform to get your small business uncover its potential through improving 7 distinct business processes and making them more social in nature. Let’s begin.What is a Social Business?
The best and easiest way to fully comprehend the potential of social media in business is to imagine a London’s coffeehouse in 1600s (http://goo.gl/zJzRsS
).What was the impact of coffeehouses on productivity, education and innovation? Coffeehouses were crucibles of creativity, because of the way in which they facilitated the mixing of both people and ideas. Members of the Royal Society, England’s pioneering scientific society, frequently retired to coffeehouses to extend their discussions. Scientists often conducted experiments and gave lectures in coffeehouses, and because admission cost just a penny (the price of a single cup), coffeehouses were sometimes referred to as “penny universities.” It was a coffeehouse argument among several fellow scientists that spurred Isaac Newton to write his “Principia Mathematica,” one of the foundational works of modern science.Coffeehouses were platforms for innovation in the world of business, too. Merchants used coffeehouses as meeting rooms, which gave rise to new companies and new business models. A London coffeehouse called Jonathan’s, where merchants kept particular tables at which they would transact their business, turned into the London Stock Exchange. Edward Lloyd’s coffeehouse, a popular meeting place for ship captains, shipowners and traders, became the famous insurance market Lloyd’s.And the economist Adam Smith wrote much of his masterpiece “The Wealth of Nations” in the British Coffee House, a popular meeting place for Scottish intellectuals, among whom he circulated early drafts of his book for discussion
// +David Amerland
comes to mind with his book “Google Semantic Search” (http://goo.gl/jVnnbs
).Coffeehouses provided a lively social and intellectual environment, which gave rise to a stream of innovations that shaped the modern world. It is no coincidence that coffee remains the traditional drink of collaboration and networking today.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and according to IBM ... a social business is an organization whose culture and systems encourage networks of people to create business value. Social business connects individuals, so they can rapidly share information, knowledge and ideas by having conversations and publishing informal content. They analyze social content from multiple channels and sources, in addition to structured data, to gain insights from both external and internal stake-holders.
In other words, an ideal “Coffeehouse” today is one that allows your business to unlock its full potential through social experiences.
IBM identifies 6 of these experiences and calls them Social Business Patterns. I added one more, and now we have 7 to discuss. Social Business Patterns
)Social Business Patterns are similar in concept to business process flows, in that each represents a repeatable, proven set of value producing actions.
Here are 7 of them:
1. - Marketing & Advertising: not identified by IBM as a Social Business Pattern but I am sure we all know what it is about given how much talk there happens on the web about social media marketing
2. - Finding Expertise: quickly locate the right people, or published content containing, the expertise needed to solve a problem; connect the best possible resources to effectively respond to customer needs; document and share reusable solutions to common issues; create highly-engaged and productive employees.
3. - Gaining External Customer Insights: quickly learn customer’s opinions and preferences related to existing and potential products and services; identify and connect with key customer influencers to aid marketing efforts.
4. - Increasing Knowledge Sharing: more efficiently and effectively capture, share and access knowledge; increase innovation through wider reach of ideas; reduce excessive, unproductive time spent searching and esxchanging.
5. - Improving Recruiting and On-Boarding: collaboratively find and connect the right candidate to the right position; streamline assessment and hiring processes; better connect, engage and retain new hires; contextually recommend expertise to increase new hires’ productivity.
6. - Managing Mergers and Acquisitions increase overall success rate of merger and acquisition activities; raise effectiveness of vision setting and communication before, during and after merger or acquisition; accelerate creation of “one company” community and culture.
7. - Enabling and Improving Workplace Safety speed communication of new or changed safety regulations, policies and procedures; minimize or eliminate project execution delays arising from actual or potential safety issues; improve innovation in safety procedures by increasing dialog between safety experts and workers
Note: In regards to social media, IBM’s business is selling and implementing social software which naturally is limited in terms of reach (think of it as your own social media platform). Perhaps this is why you don’t find them discussing marketing and advertising - a Social Business Pattern that is fundamental - in their whitepaper.
So let’s see what makes Google+ the best Coffeehouse on the block in helping your microband become a social business.Unlock Your Social Business Potential with Google Plus
Here is how Gartner identified Google in their Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace (http://goo.gl/g2jDHY
)Google enters this Magic Quadrant as a Visionaries vendor. Google offers a broad cloud-based bundle of communications, authoring and information-sharing capabilities known as Google Apps for Business.Google promises product simplicity, with "good-enough" and broad capabilities; and offers very competitive and simple pricing.
IBM, Microsoft, Jive Software and Salesforce.com are positioned in this quadrant as Leaders (which is perceived better than visionaries). However, I personally think the results are skewed towards the needs of medium to large size businesses. The cost and difficulty of implementing their solutions leaves a lot of space for Google in serving smaller businesses.
Here’s my personal opinion (and it is only an opinion): I scored Google+ (on a scale of 1 to 10) for its ability to help a small business apply all 7 Social Business Patterns and unlock its full potential:1. Marketing & Advertising Score of 10
Authorship, Author Rank, Networking, semantic search, paid advertising (search and display), YouTube - all of it makes Google (with Google+ at its core) a fantastic marketing platform. Here are a couple reads that are not exactly fresh but they do not get worn out:
1. Your Google Plus Network is More Powerful Than You Know by +Mark Traphagen
2. Google Plus Offers Business Opportunities Available Nowhere Else by +Pam Dyer
).2. Finding Expertise Score of 8
Communities and knowledgeable people who do
respond to your questions make acquiring external expertise extremely easy. Sharing expertise internally is manageable through private communities, Hangouts, Gmail and Google Drive. And recently! Google introduced Helpouts to assist you in applying this Social Business Pattern even better. Here is everything you need to know about Google Helpouts by +Denis Labelle
).3. Gaining External Customer Insights Score of 9
People who have you in circles and/or those who follow your page gladly provide insights about your product or service if they see your post. However someone with mere 100 followers seems to be at a disadvantage in collecting feedback as opposed to big players
on G+. To aid this situation, Google offers a Pay-Per-Play services called Google Consumer Insights. And you know what? Virtually any small business can afford making data-driven decisions with the use of this disruptive service! (http://goo.gl/6XOQTg
).4. Increasing Knowledge Sharing Score of 8
The capabilities of G+ in this field are tremendous. Small businesses share expertise externally and internally, through communities and their streams, hangouts and helpouts. Information flows and ideas get generated. The note of caution here - you need to continuously refine your stream, so that you do not get an information overflow. Check the Elite Stream concept by +Sergey Andrianov
<- self-tagging is cool :-)
).5. Improving Recruiting and On-Boarding Score of 5
Continuous engagement with experts may result in employment. Also, employees engaged with the world through your company’s social journey on G+ may become more motivated and loyal to your brand. Google Hangouts can make interviewing and working with remote hirees as real as it can get on the web. Not convinced? +Miriam Salpeter
discusses 4 Ways Google Plus Can Help You Land a Job (http://goo.gl/9v7tqC
). Looking from an organization’s perspective, if someone uses Google+ to land a job, there must be a business willing to offer this same job through Google+.6. Managing Mergers and Acquisitions Score of 4
For small businesses that seek to form partnerships there is plenty of tools on G+ to collaborate and engage (mentioned above). However, some social software that tailors to specific needs (such as Salesforce.com) mights nicely augument Google services and is affordable even for small businesses. 7. Enabling and Improving Workplace Safety Score of 3
In my opinion communicating safety is better done through email, printed material, meetings and training sessions (because of the need to reach every single person in the company). You can use Google Hangouts or Google Drive to communicate standards, but that really means everyone in your organization must be on Google+ which is not happening any time soon for most establishments.
How would you change the score? I’d be interested to know about your direct experience with G+ in all these areas.
Finally, being on Google+ is free; getting a business apps account is darn cheap; and there are no expensive and massive social software implementation to through. This Google+ thing is a pretty awesome Coffeehouse, you know?Click link to tweet this:
)Pin for Later
No 1: Unlock Your Small Business Social Potential with Google+ (http://goo.gl/Yfhg1e
// IBM: Social Business Patterns (http://goo.gl/NchssI
// Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace (http://goo.gl/RaAGMa
// Social Networking in the 1600s (http://goo.gl/CwF36a
------------------------------------------------------#coffeetrat is my effort - exclusively on Google+ - to treat your stay in the Plus Coffeehouse on select Fridays. I hope to have made this post interesting enough to keep you busy reading on the weekend. If you would like to get notified when the next #coffeetreat is available, say it in the comments. I will add you to my CoffeeTreat circle. Thanks and have a fantastic weekend! :)