Gen Y and Social BusinessThe social revolution has officially arrived at most corporate headquarters.

Your company has Facebook and Twitter accounts, you’re schmoozing on LinkedIn, and your marketing department is uploading compelling content to your YouTube channel.

These practices, however, are de rigueur in the age of social media. If you want to stay competitive, you have to become a true Social Business.

That means leveraging your social networking channels to learn about and cater to the needs of a new breed of customer – the Net Generation.

First, let’s consider what defines a Social Enterprise. According to a recent paper by the Tapscott Group (and sponsored by SAP) social businesses need to:

  1. Align employee social networking with business objectives
  2. Use social media as a platform for co-creation and collaboration
  3. Treat transparency as a top priority
  4. Enable real-time collaboration both within the enterprise and outside with customers and partners
  5. Listen to customers and take action based on their opinions and needs

I think the last point is clearly the most important. As the next generation of business leaders, buyers and customers evolve, a social business will be mostly defined by its ability to be responsive to customer demands.

Today’s “digital natives” are well-informed consumers who can cut through the noise that plagues us all in this age of data explosion.

They subject products to intense scrutiny and research, deftly scouring customer reviews and ratings. They’re not afraid to share their opinions, and they expect to be taken seriously when they have a grievance.

Pithy, informative Facebook posts about your latest and greatest product won’t cut it in this kind of climate. Only businesses that can respond quickly and accurately to this “next generation” can expect to reap the rewards of social media.

Social networking in a corporate environment should now be a listening exercise rather than a post-a-day marathon. Gather information about what your customers are saying so you can accurately gauge sentiment and make the necessary interventions. This generation expects a dialogue, not a lecture.

Simply put, what you have to say to this emerging generation is less important than what their peers have to say. Your customers don’t care what a press release says about a product – they only care what other customers say about your product.

What’s more, marketers can respond to customers in real time and use social media as an advantage – to converse, respond and iterate.

The possibilities for success as a Social Business are endless – as long as you listen to what your customer are saying.

Let me know what you think in the comments below. And please follow along on TwitterLinkedInFacebook and Google+ or Subscribe to the B2B Marketing Insider Blog for regular updates.

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About Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is the Head of Strategy for the leading content marketing platform, NewsCred. He is also the author of B2B Marketing Insider, a contributor to Forbes and a frequent speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, social business, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding.  Follow Michael on Twitter (@BrennerMichael)LinkedInFacebook and Google+ and Subscribe to B2B Marketing Insider by Email

2 Comments

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