Do you thrive in the social era?

Are you, or want to be, a game changer? Do you use the power of your ideas and connections to grow and change? Watch Nilofer Merchant, strategist and author,” in one minute tell Harvard how the way we do business is changing:

We don’t  create value on our own but when we connect with other entities, people and ideas. People who master  networking will be thriving in the social era.

The power of networks

How many networks do you belong to on and offline? Admittedly far from all networks are useful. They have to consist of people with shared interests and goals in order to produce returns and serve our needs.

Unfortunately there are plenty of networks consisting of individuals who just talk and seem to be stuck on the same treadmill forever. Such networks, needless to say, will not produce results. When it comes to networking, action definitely speaks louder than words.

Connected individuals taking over from institutions

It’s almost strange, isn’t it, that power today more and more comes from individuals connected in some way at the expense of institutions. Personally believe that’s a wonderful development.  And it gets even better because because we can create value by connecting to individuals who are not working in our company. We can, for instance, hire a consultant at the other side of the world who can carry out work for us without leaving his/her home.

Let your customers have their say

Making your customers part of your innovation process is a wonderful aspect of the social era.  How do you connect with your customers?

It’s also interesting that it’s mainly our values and goals that unite us in the social era. Not a company or product. It allows us to organise companies to be more fluid, work faster and increase their market share.

Isn’t it time to stop thinking in old ways and adapt to our new reality – the social era? We don’t need to work out of an office anymore. Maybe it’s time to to re-define what an organisation looks like and how it is structured? More and more individuals have their own company and successfully cooperate with other business owners as if they were one organisation. Do you agree that the amount of business owners working together along those lines will continue to increase? Are you operating that way? If so, what are your experiences? 

Video: HarvardBusiness

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40 Responses to “Do you thrive in the social era?”

  1. Leora Says:

    "Making your customers part of your innovation process is a wonderful aspect of the social era. " – many businesses are struggling with this part of Social – it's one thing to put up videos or tweet. It's yet another to respond to customers online. In a local networking group, business owners recently discussed how to respond to negative. Some with experience agreed if a comment is such a rant and in all caps and so negative, it might be best not to respond. Or let current customers respond. Business owners must tread carefully.
    My recent post Interview with Florist: Videos, FB and Business in Central NJ

  2. catarinaalexon Says:

    Great points, Leora. Agree with you. But responding to customers online is something that's going to be a must. Just a question of how long it takes. What the members of the local networking group concluded is the same tactic that can be use when someone posts an insulting comment in a discussion on social media. Frequently someone else disarms the bully. But if someone is really ranting the least you can do is call them up and talk to them. Another option is to ask them questions online to find out what the problem is. Frequently it's not as bad as it sounds. It's just a question of how the person in question express him/herself.

  3. Susan P Cooper Says:

    I think that in this new SM world allowing customers to have voice can only enhance a company or organization profile. This make it much more personal for a customer, giving them a sense of having a stake in the future of that organization or companies success. I realize there are risks but i believe those risks far outweigh the benefits that can come form doing that kind of collaboration. :-)
    My recent post Stack Wines Cabernet Sauvignon

  4. @KeepUpWeb Says:

    Catarina,
    Networking online has to be an integral part of any business' overall strategy. I always look at participation in social networking sites as an extension of what we do at face-to-face meetings and business events. The same rules apply. Everything we do is either a relationship builder or a relationship destroyer, whether it''s online or offline, it still matters. In fact, destroying a relationship online can have much further reaching implications.
    My recent post Friday Finds – Facebook Hashtags, Google and CommentLuv do-follow Links

  5. Doreen Pendgracs Says:

    Yes, I absolutely agree that we as entrepreneurs now have an advantage in reaching out to customers and expanding our networks thru the use of social media. Most of the contacts for my chocolate research have come via social media platforms. I love being able to connect with someone in South America (or any part of the world) as easily as I can with someone who lives around the corner in my own community.
    My recent post for the love of Junior

  6. TheGirl Says:

    Yeh…I'm trying to be more social. Honestly, if it weren't for this blog I wouldn't be so active on social media and learn about networking. And even my job, which I recently left— I realized how many contacts I made and how useful that could be.
    My recent post Ppssst! Should You Dump His Ass?

  7. becc03 Says:

    If you do not keep up with the times and adapt to the changes that are happening around you, I'm afraid you will fall behind and fail.
    My recent post Mistress of the Universe

  8. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you agree with me Susan. Involving your customers is slowly but surely becoming a must.

  9. catarinaalexon Says:

    Definitely, Sherryl. You are so right that the same rules apply online as offline. And not least that you can cause much more damage online.

  10. catarinaalexon Says:

    Great points, Doreen. Isn't it amazing how we can cooperate with people all over the world without even having met them.

  11. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you agree with me. Contacts are key to development.

  12. catarinaalexon Says:

    True, Rebecca. Ignore how the world is developing and you will fail.

  13. Siddhartha Sinha Says:

    Hi Catarina,

    Very good post and the facts mentioned on Power of Network and institutions were really amazing one. It provided me a Good information along with the video. Nice Work

    Regards
    Siddhartha Sinha
    My recent post Why one should have Google Adsense Account

  14. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you agree with me Siddhartha.

  15. GuyW Says:

    Thanks for the post, Catarina. I have one question, though – are we in the social era, or the communication one? My view is that social networks are simply a tool to facilitate far wider communication than has been feasible in the past. Companies can now talk with each and every customer, for example, rather than a select few; entrepreneurs can reach out to huge numbers of prospective investors, customers and suppliers; everyone working in even the biggest global MNC can have a voice… Social networks (online and offline) make the concept of "the global village" a reality. For example, through LinkedIn alone, I'm connected to a staggering 21 million people, with around 120 000 new connections just over the weekend…

    So, what companies and people need to understand is how to best take advantage of the new communication age. Certainly, business owners can use it to build eco-systems, but so can individuals. The flip side, of course, is that privacy is becoming a thing of the past – if you do something wrong, people are going to know about it – quickly! That said, they're also going to know when you fix things, do something right, and so on.

    Basically we're at the point of trying to understand how to effectively interact in this new environment – it's making for some very interesting times (and business models)…

  16. mkslagel Says:

    I definitely agree the amount of business owners working together along those lines will continue to increase. It is a changing world and if you don't keep up, you will be left behind. Adapting to and adjusting with social media is just one of the many ways we are changing the structure of organizations but I think it is a really cool way.
    My recent post 6 Reasons You Aren’t Reaching Your Fitness Goals

  17. catarinaalexon Says:

    Already knew we agree on the positive, and negative, aspects, of this new era for business. As for your question, for some reason it's called the social era:-)

  18. catarinaalexon Says:

    Agree with you M.K. It's a great development that opens up a lot of possibilities for those of us who have entrepreneurial minds ( not to be confused with carrying out entrepreneurial activity).

  19. yearwoodcom Says:

    Great post. My husband has a small company and he couldn’t meet the needs of most of his large clients unless he created virtual teams. The team members are not just from different organizations doing different things, they are from different cities. What they share are their values, their dedication and their very customer centred approach to delivering service. Even in larger organizations, like my own, the virtual teams are central to effective service delivery. Most of our 5000 staff do not work in an office and many of our teams don’t work in the same city or province with each other. We all need to hear the voice of the customer if we want to succeed, so embracing the social era isn’t just a trend, it’s necessity.
    My recent post The Power and Pain of Polling

  20. catarinaalexon Says:

    Thanks Debra. What your husband and his virtual teams are doing is a great example of how to do it in this day and age. Am working on setting up a similar system right now.

  21. @patweber Says:

    When it comes to at least some of the larger organizations, they fail with customer service whether it's online or in-person. Sad isn't it? I mean they could really have their customer service reputation sore up up up by responding quickly. Opportunity missed for sure. Valuable insights here, thanks Catarina.
    My recent post Another Social Network for You to Chase Down?

  22. Susan Oakes Says:

    Smart companies have included customers in the past and will continue to do this. What the networking platforms have done is help smaller companies connect throughout the world and with customers and other businesses. Some will use it to advantage and others will ignore the opportunity. The one thing to remember is sometimes the ones that complain etc online are the vocal minority which companies need to be aware of.
    My recent post What Should You Feature To Attract New Customers?

  23. JeriWB Says:

    For many, there is still the fear that workers will be less productive if they work from home. It's great to be able to have that option, but it's not an option with every business or with every person. I think it's harder to separate work time from downtown when one works from home.
    My recent post Blog Tour: Nonnie Jules’ The Good Mommies’ Guide

  24. Geek Girl Says:

    She's got it right. This is the era of social. Businesses cannot remain viable without social. They have to participate and respond. It's entirely different paradigm from previous generations.

  25. catarinaalexon Says:

    Agree with you completely, Pat.

  26. catarinaalexon Says:

    Spot on, Susan.

  27. catarinaalexon Says:

    Jeri, sometimes working from home is not a good idea for larger companies. Some of us are used to working out of hotels and from home and don't find it difficult to be diciplined. However, far from all people can do it.

  28. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you agree with me, Cheryl.

  29. bewellbeactive Says:

    I have been an independant business owner for over 20 years. However, for the last five years I have been networking more and have teamed up with several other's in my profession and we are beginning to open up some wonderful doors. This could only happen by working together as a team even though we are all independant.

  30. catarinaalexon Says:

    Excellent example of the new way of working i.e. independent company owners cooperating like an organisation.

  31. Morgan D. Says:

    Great post and I agree! The world is constantly changing and evolving, and it is natural that we would innovate the way we communicate with one another. The power of networking is amazing and it is awesome how we all use it to our advantage in social and business settings!
    My recent post Podcast: Surviving the Slow Season | Restaurant Marketing

  32. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you agree with me Morgan.

  33. Lorraine Marie Reguly Says:

    Involving your customers is super idea! They are, of course, the most important people in any business!

  34. catarinaalexon Says:

    Yep, Lorraine. And also to work with other company owners just like an organisation, even though you are all "independent".

  35. @Bindudesigns Says:

    Being on the social media is now part of the business. Does everyone benefit from the networks? It depends on the type of networks, and the mentality of the people there. Every business owner wanted to be connected with the customers.

  36. catarinaalexon Says:

    Bindu, social media per se is just a tiny part of what the social era entails. Most people do not get much, if anything, out of social media. You have to develop friendships and partnerships throught the people you get to know on social networks. If not, what do you get out of it?

  37. Arleen Says:

    Speaking from my own experience if you do not get involved int he social era you will be left behind. I think that everyone will benefit from social media. However you need to pick and choose which ones you want to focus on, so that you are not all over the place and master none. I am now trying to get my customers more involved in social media by offering a discount when they visit and like our Facebook. The jury is still out on that one
    My recent post Marketing Lessons Learned from the “Man of Steel”

  38. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you agree with me, Arleen.

  39. Jeannette Paladino Says:

    Catarina — I think this post was meant for me. I completely rebranded my business four years ago. I saw that social media was the future, so I took my basic tool — writing — and applied it to social media writing and blogging. It has paid dividends in my business. You simply can't succeed without understanding social media. I find that clients are looking for help with navigating all the possible networks they could belong to. It's and exciting and challenging new world!
    My recent post So You Thought Social Media Would Increase Your Sales. Think Again.

  40. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you identify with the concept and thrive in the social era, Jeannette.

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