A South African strategic communications agency has launched a free –e-book that unpacks best practice in social media aimed at content and community managers.
Cerebra’s We Are Community, written by CEO Mike Stopforth, is based on real-life case studies and sound theory, and was developed out of the need for more businesses to become social businesses so as to enable them to compete within the social web space. It is aimed at “Any business, big or small, that is trying to make the most of the social media opportunity”.
“There is widespread interest in, and adoption of, social media as a marketing tool. Other corporate departments such as HR (specifically relating to recruitment and profiling) are also leveraging opportunities. The most advanced adoption has been in business with a large customer facing/service component (banks, telecoms, FMCG),” says Stopforth.
Stopforth believes many businesses are hindered by their lack of understanding of the social media space, and how it impacts on business, from information gathered to intelligence received about their consumers, their rivals, the sector in which they operate to the ability to improve products and services within a company. Stopforth believes this engagement is not a trend or a fad, but a “fundamental shift in the way people are connecting, communicating and collaborating”.
An example, says Stopforth, is that the “social web is driven by values and behaviours that are not always reflected in business. As an example, the social web is built on transparency, sharing and collaboration. Often businesses are built on values that are almost diametrically opposed to those”.
“Industrial Age businesses are not designed for collaboration and sharing, and yet businesses like Starbucks and Zappos are showing just how powerful these attributes can be as a business differentiator,” he says.
Stopforth believes social businesses “makes decisions more effectively and efficiently with less resistance from stakeholders, as it is a mindset of every individual within the organisation”.
And he thinks all businesses should have a social component. Twitter and Facebook are not the only social platforms communicating with consumers. Companies that are marketing to lower income markets, for example, should be looking at Mxit as a means of communication. What about that “large majority of LSM 7-8 have access to phones that can host Mxit”?
And that comes back to why the We Are Community e-book is important. It demystifies social business, and gives readers – experts and novices alike – the nuts and bolts of how to make social media work for a business. It promises to explain the theory behind good content and community management, and then provides the tools (from analytics to measurement) to build sustainable communities.
And while it is aimed at the business community, politicians would be advised to read and deliver. Because, as Stopforth says, South African political parties haven’t even “remotely” got it. “South African politicians by and large don’t have a clue how powerful social media is or what it means for them.”
Follow @cerebra and @mikestopforth on Twitter.