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I have been interacting with numerous social business specialists over the past two to three years, and based on my conversations with these individuals, my participation on social media and the projects I have been involved in with my clients to date, I have listed six things that social business consulting providers should consider.
1. The hype cycle is over
When Enterprise Resourcing Planning (ERP) was introduced to the market in the late 80s, the ERP vendors spent most of their time generating hype around the concept of ERP, how important it was for companies to make the move, and the disastrous results if they didn’t. In time, most companies bought into the concept and implemented ERP systems. In terms of social business, the “social business” hype cycle is over and service providers need to spend more time building relationships with prospective clients.
2. Segment and specialise
The “social business” industry is large and diverse. We cannot be everything to everyone. Decide what you are really good and do what is necessary to differentiate yourself from others. We can spend all our time regurgitating thought ware from the gurus, but what are you doing to convince your target clients that you have something unique and special to offer that will make a difference to their business?
3. Targeted communication and interaction
Many people communicate using the communication tools which they prefer. This does not help if your prospective clients happen to have different preferences. Twitter may be the killer app for you right now, but only once you have convinced your future client of the fact, they will not be listening to you right now. Spend time understanding where your target market is on the social web first, and then develop your communication strategy.
4. Collaborate to provide holistic solutions
With reference to point 2, it may be worth your while to collaborate with other niche players so that you are able to provide a complete solution rather than just tackle one area within an organisation. A number of digital agencies who specialise in social media marketing are realising that there is more money to be made in other areas of the business who can also benefit from being socialised, however the digital agencies do not understand supply chain, procurement and knowledge management.
5. Do not do more of the same thing if it does not work
I am one of the individuals that have been going through the motions in the social media space, doing certain things because everyone else is doing it, and not deriving any real benefit. I bet there are a whole bunch of you that are not doing Follow Friday anymore. Take stock of your daily and weekly activities and spend time determining what adds value and what doesn’t. If it doesn’t add value, stop doing it and try something else.
6. Think about the future
This market is constantly changing. Keep a close watch on emerging technologies. I am sure MySpace thought they would be around for a long time before Facebook was introduced to the market. It is always a good idea to keep an eye out for the next killer app because you could benefit if you get on board early in the cycle.
I hope these tips make sense and are helpful. Do you have anything you would like to add?