We live in a Social Business world!

Relationships have always made business happen

In 2011 I was starting my company “FoodieSquare” (closed in 2014) and I remember thinking deeply about the impact of Social Media in businesses. This is what I wrote back then:

It was not long ago that businesses and people had good relationships. Before the industrial times and before productions went massive, our great-grandparents used to buy their food, clothes and most of the things they needed from small and independent stores in their neighborhoods. It was a small and non-connected world back then where people and business owners had relationships. Relationships made business happen.
Then the economy of industrial goods came, products became massive, cheaper and our parents had more money to buy more stuff. Conglomerates raised and the small shops started to close or been acquired by bigger ones. We traded relationships for cheap and convenient. We now just need to go to a big store to buy around 99% of all of our needs, from groceries to furnitures. Fewer stores, many cheap purchases.
Interesting though, we are living once again new changing times. Or are we? The fact is that technology and the whole economy around the internet has changed things. Revolution? Or back to the basics? It seems that life is indeed moving in circles and we are now returning to a point that used to be normal. Many companies wonder about this “creating relationship” with customers as it if was something new. Social Media, as we are experiencing it now, is just helping the world to become again a smaller place. A place where relationships are once again the most important value, as they have always been.

Back in 2011 the argument still was going around, if Social Media was a just a fad. Back then, Facebook had about 500 million active users. Still, businesses were not buying in. While my new startup had about 17.000 followers on Facebook, the account from big multinationals did not have more than few hundred “fans”. I predicted back then, that for 2012, Facebook would reach 1bn users and I remember most of my MBA classmates not to agree with me.

Now, in 2016, Facebook has 1.56 bn active users (1bn daily active users). Additionally to Twitter (320 mn active users) and LinkedIn (100 mn active users), we have now also Whatsapp (1 bn active users), Facebook Messenger (900 mn active users), Instagram (400 mn active users), Snapchat (200 mn active users), and many others.

Today, most of the big corporations are still not maximizing the use of Social Media in the day-2-day business. Clara Shih, author from The Facebook Era back in 2010, just released her newest book The Social Business Imperative. Here, Clara writes how Social Media still needs to be embedded in the Business Strategy and be implemented across the entire organization. Clara has been a Board Member from Starbucks since 2011, so it is not surprising that Starbucks with their current 36 million Facebook followers is killing it in Social Business and has set up the entire company into a Social Media Army!

Social Businesses cannot be managed by the “Social Media Marketing department” nor it can be delegated to the new millennial employee-hire. Instead, Social Media needs to be embedded into the Business Strategy, starting at the very top! The C-Suite at big corporations is desperately shouting about the need to transform into a digital business and the urge to interact with the customers across all new digital touchpoints. Still, most of them do not even have a Social Media presence and delegate all social media activities (including internal social media networks!). It’s a huge mistake for CEOs to leave social media to millennials!

Can you find the CEO of your company on Twitter or Facebook?

If relationships are making once again business happen, and if technology can help scale-up building and maintaining relationships with customers and employees, I do then agree that the entire organization needs to be on Social Media, including CEOs! We are living in a Social Business world!