Social Business is crossing the chasm


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I just came back from Australia where I spoke on several events about Social Business, it’s evolution and where we go in the next few years. It was great to see how advanced Australia is. Wherever I went, people are on LinkedIn, Facebook, many on Twitter and the days where most of those platforms where some exotic place for geeks are clearly over.

The world is booming

Like Australia also Europe and Asia is booming. I recently worked with some European companies and it isn’t any different. Social Media is becoming an integrated part of a business strategy.

Many consultants evolve too slowly

It was surprising to see that quite some social media consultants didn’t evolve with the market. While many businesses working on strategy frameworks, planning methods and try to get methodical – many consultants still do their job as it would be 2007. Social Media Consulting actually need to get some serious kick in order to keep up with the customer demand.

Corporate social media is changing

It is no longer acceptable to do some “Social Media Marketing” by creating a few fan pages, invite clients, put an iPad as a carrot on the stick to make people join and hope the “campaign” get some traction. I recently spoke with leading telco organizations, banks, trading companies and it is pretty clear the social media landscape is evolving very rapidly. Requirements have changed. Social Media strategies are cross functional, involve sales, product management, support and other departments. KPIs are a must and the good old sentiment analysis is a commodity.

Larger corporations demand a very different social media engagement. A 5,000 people enterprise won’t just throw a fan page at the market, build an online community and hope it sticks. Strategic engagements require teams and consultants who know enterprises and even SMBs inside out. Social Media Consultants need to cross the chasm in order to finally get to the much larger part of the industry. The past 6 years of social media was just a warm up round. The real race is starting now.

Crossing the chasm

Taking Geoffrey Moor’s model of “Crossing the chasm” probably illustrates best where social media is going. Early adopters like Cisco, Comcast, Dell, Pepsi, Virgin, WholeFoods, Zappos and many others set the stage. The next generation social business development is no longer based on experiments but on clear understanding how social media can help businesses thrive. In order to cross the Social Media Chasm, consultants need to be able to make full fledged social media assessments, and develop a strategy based on proven models and frameworks. Social Media Consultants need to demonstrate that their methods, models and frameworks are transparent and repeatable. Cross functional social media engagements require robust social media organization models in order to create, develop and sustain an executable strategy. The ability to embed KPIs into a strategy, calculate an ROI for the engagement and introduce a long term business reporting model is no longer an option. Eyeballs and number of fans are no longer the meter for success but measurable customer advocacy which is represented by customer recommendations and has a direct correlation to incremental revenue.

Next Level Education

Social media education requirements are changing as well. The entry point is no longer how to tweet or how to build a fan page. The 25 best tips to setup a LinkedIn Profile may still be well visited – but is in no demand in the corporate world. Methods, Models And Frameworks are. After almost two years experience in that field, the Social Media Academy is ranked as one with the highest reputation. And we are putting the bar a notch higher with the new Masters Class that we start in September 2010. In addition to lecturing and working intensely on group exercises in between sessions, we start to work with real industry projects so that students get their hands on actual industry project experience and solve real problems. For customers that is not a try and error – but based on a transparent and verifyable set of methodologies.

Axel Schultze
CEO of Society3. Our S3 Buzz technology is empowering business teams to create buzz campaigns and increase mentions and reach. S3 Buzz provides specific solutions for event buzz, products and brand buzz, partner buzz and talent acquisition buzz campaigns. We helped creating campaigns with up to 100 Million in reach. Silicon Valley entrepreneur, published author, frequent speaker, and winner of the 2008 SF Entrepreneur award. Former CEO of BlueRoads, Infinigate, Computer2000.


  1. Axel: thanks for sharing this insight. Your points reinforce the idea that with social media data and information are commodities. Opportunities exist for companies that are able to develop insight from social media (eg customer developed products and services), and can lead disparate teams to provide something valuable for communities. As you point out, that’s much, much more than setting up a Facebook page or establishing a location for “product reviews” (I used quotes because many of them are vendor sponsored, and therefore, useless to customers).

    Achieving planned results requires that companies think about communication differently. A huge challenge with social media is the number of different people, companies, and communities who have an influential voice about a product or service. Companies that are accustomed to having a single look/feel/brand image still need to lead, but differently. The companies that learn the fastest will be those that aren’t daunted by making mistakes, learning from the experiences, and adjusting quickly.


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