Which Social Part Do You Sell?

by Jay Deragon on 10/21/2010

Everyone everywhere is selling “social media” products and services. I often wonder which part of social media they are selling.

Using social media effectively demands mind-sets and capabilities that are unfamiliar and sometimes even counter intuitive to many business managers. Business managers should allow themselves and the entire organization time to unlearn and rethink everything before they “jump into” social media.  Most are following those who haven’t unlearned and rethought how, where, when, who, why and what they communicate which ultimately produces results, good bad and indifferent.

Which Part Do You Sell?

In a post titled 4 Component Functions of Social Media we suggested the functions are:

  1. Administration
  2. Listening & Learning
  3. Thinking and Planning
  4. Engagement & Measurement

Each function produces value to the preceding function  and value is passed back and forth between each function  in the form of feedback data for improvement. Thus, unless you measure the qualitative issues that create the qualitative impact you cannot change or produce the end results effectively.

Knowledge is required to maximize the effectiveness of each function systemically. In other words not syncing all functions together with the right talent and knowledge sub-optimizes performance of the whole. Sub-optimization is wasteful and can hurt an entire effort while producing short-term results that could be misleading.

Selling Parts or the Whole?

Everything has parts and without all the parts you really can’t produce an end product or service that a market wants to consistently consume. Too many companies are using different parts of “social media” but not using them holistically. Instead the market is filled with snake oil salesmen calling themselves social media gurus but few can offer a “systemic approach” to all four functions listed below.

There are daily if not hourly stories, developments and new releases all related to this thing called social media. Unless you can first understand the system you cannot properly put any new information, new technology or innovation into proper context. Without a system you cannot decide the value of any new information or knowledge because it doesn’t fit into a functional process rather it may or may not fit into your system.

What Does Your System Look Like?

Whether an person or an organization you are managing a system aimed at results. Results come from a series of interrelated processes working together to enable you or your organizations to create or reach the desired results.  Each process should be seamlessly aligned with other related processes so each works in sync with the other interactively. Otherwise you end up producing waste, rework, failures and increased cost. Worse yet if you use social media without having a system you could alienate your market, internally and externally.

The illustration below depicts the “systemic functions” (parts/processes) of social media. This is an overview and not complete but relevant to thinking correctly.  We believe that unless you “connect” the parts and do so effectively and efficiently you will not produce desired results.  What part of social media sells? All of them connected together.

social media systemic parts

Inter-connected Value Creation

Which process creates the greatest impact on social media ROI? Notice the end result in the graphic above reflects that results comes from all the inter-related decisions on how well each process/function is connected. Seth Godin says social media is a process. I’d say it is a system of inter-connected processes.

In order to make good decisions each process and all the people involved in the process needs the relevant knowledge. People given the right knowledge, the opportunity to continuously learn and processes to apply knowledge enables a system to produce results!


Briana Kassabian March 12, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Have you given any kind of consideration at all with translating your current web-site into German? I know a few of translaters right here which would help you do it for no cost if you want to get in touch with me personally.

b3buy (Business 3.0 Corp.) October 21, 2010 at 5:05 pm

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RT @JDeragon: Which Social Part Do You Sell? #socialbusiness [link to post] I often wonder which part of social media they are selling

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AllenatCFM (Allen Howell) October 21, 2010 at 1:02 pm

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Which Social Part Do You Sell? #socialmedia #socialstrategy ##socialbusiness [link to post]

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maidoesimple (Gabriele Maidecchi) October 21, 2010 at 12:05 pm

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RT @JDeragon: Which Social Part Do You Sell? [link to post]

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Gabriele Maidecchi October 21, 2010 at 9:51 am

You provide an awesome approach, unfortunately this is not how most people approach social media. They indeed work on the single parts rather than laying down a full blown strategy. That’s the only way to ensure results and avoid complaining about their lack of, as I often read and listen around.

AchieversNet (Achievers Network) October 21, 2010 at 5:10 am

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Which Social Part Do You Sell?: Everyone everywhere is selling “social media” products and services. I often wonde… [link to post]

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