Some businesses will build a “social platform” but do not know how to use it. Some will design a platform for others but still not know how to show the client how to use it. Some will build a network and sell value added services for the network operators but again many do not know how to use it.
The difference in building and using a network is like owning a plane but not knowing how to fly it. To get from point A to B you need to hire a pilot.
What Does “Using It” Mean?
I’ve visited several firms who have built proprietary platforms for others. They are good at designing the value proposition, building enabling technology and designing specific community attributes. The consistent shortfall of many is a fundamental understanding of both how they and their clients should use the network for maximum return on investment. Allow me to elaborate.
- Use of a network enables people reach to others. The more direct connections one has the farther the reach to indirect connections.
- Building relationship credibility and social capital is an art and science of attraction, traction and the laws of givers gain. .
- Your blog, given you provide relevant content, is the means of attracting others and building your brand credibility relative to a specific subject matter and a specific audience segment.
- Participating in numerous networks enables you to increase your profile, enhance distribution of your content and create further affinity and attraction to others.
- The art and science of a network isn’t centric to technology rather it is more about knowing “how to use” technology to enhance human relations and serving the interest of many.
Most business leaders are struggling to understand how they can use all this social stuff to enhance revenue. Most business leaders are still consumed with end results and few will focus on understanding successful methods required to achieve results over and over again.
To create revenue within any market one has to establish relations. Relations get enhanced through conversations and credibility is advanced over time as the relationship becomes familiar and the context creates a value exchange, a transaction.
From the marketing, sales and positioning perspective knowing how to use a network increases the assurance towards any specific relationship opportunity, any specific transactional opportunity and use of the collective value network to insure revenue capture.
The business priority ought to be to share and facilitate the organization learning of how to leverage a collective network of relationships for positioning, relational building and ultimately earning the right to a transaction. The power of the “social web” is in reach. The method to leveraging reach to revenue is the art and science of “using the network” for business purposes.
The quickest way to capture revenue is to help as many internal resources reach the appropriate relations, enhance creditability with existing relations and do so systemically so the process is institutionalized rather than contained by any one resource. The market of vital few relations that provide the most value to a company is the quickest route to the larger market of relations, conversations and subsequent transaction.
Revenue is the result of collective business processes that enhance relations, deliver solutions and create value. Revenue cannot happen without relations, conversations, credibility, value and social capital. All this social stuff is simply a high power jet whose destination is revenue. Unless you know how to fly or you hire a good pilot a network won’t take you anywhere.
In 1999 The Cluetrain Manifesto framed the emerging web as a marketplace of conversations. As we approach the ten year anniversary of the books release one wonders how many business have yet to understand the dynamics of conversations, relationships and the dynamics of the emerging marketplace.
Do we really understand “how to use it”? What say you?