Is Your Company Social or Antisocial

At the recent Phorum 2013 conference, Salesforce.com’s Peter Coffee made a really great distinction between two types of software: Social and antisocial. It got me thinking about two kinds of business: social and antisocial.

We all know social people. Outgoing and responsive, they light up any room they walk into. They’re easy to talk to and eager to engage with others, and show genuine interest in the conversation. They make you feel welcome and keep you coming back for more.

And, on the flip side, each of us has run into an antisocial person as well. They can be difficult to chat up, the conversation is like pulling teeth, and you get the feeling that they can’t wait for you to leave so they can go back to what they were doing before you interrupted.

In the same way, companies have personalities and a way of interacting with the world around them; they can be social or antisocial. Whether a company is social or antisocial is influenced by a variety of factors, from the environment they operate in, to the current trends and accepted tone of communication within their industry. Even the people they hire and the internal corporate culture have a profound effect on shaping a company’s personality.

Beyond all the factors that influence how a company interacts in the marketplace, social technologies have provided everyone with an equal playing field and platform to help organizations grow and thrive as social businesses. It’s easier now more than ever for social businesses and social people to create, capture, and engage customers, prospects, employees, and other stakeholders using tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Is your company social or antisocial? Businesses now have the opportunity to showcase and scale the kind of organization they want to become. It’s their choice. And, the benefits of being social, and the pitfalls of being antisocial, are just as impactful in the virtual world as they are in the real one.

Social vs. Antisocial Business Breakdown:

Social Business

  • Customers and prospects view social businesses as available and easy to access.
  • Social businesses join the conversation with the marketplace and implement change proactively.
  • Audiences are receptive to messages from social businesses; they bring people back by leaving them wanting more.
  • A social business goes beyond merely meeting a need or providing satisfaction; they generate brand loyalty and evangelists.

Antisocial Business

  • Antisocial businesses are not customer-centric.
  • Customer feedback is frequently missed or not acted on, creating frustration.
  • Antisocial businesses do not have a strong voice in the marketplace; they are unlikely to generate excitement.
  • An antisocial doesn’t give customers a “feel good” feeling. Although they may satisfy a need, they don’t generate word of mouth.

What can you do to be a social business? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Who are the naturally social members of my staff?
  • How can I empower them to showcase their skills and personality online?
  • Where do my customers hangout online?
  • What tools do they need to make it happen?
  • How can I guide them without stifling their creativity?

I hope this gets your creative juices flowing and provides a few ideas that will help transform your business into a social business. I’d like to give a special thanks to Peter Coffee (@PeterCoffee) of Salesforce.com for the idea behind this blog.

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