This blog post introduces a white paper that describes Trickle Up Socialnomics™* – how BtoB (business-to-business) firms can view their supply chain as a Social Media Chain and leverage it to identify business opportunities and increase revenues.
*Socialnomics™ is a term coined by Eric Qualman, a social media thought leader who wrote a book by the same name in 2009. You can learn more about Socialnomics by visiting their website.
Scroll down to access the white paper through the SMinOrgs SlideShare channel.
Just as leaders of BtoB firms take a different approach to marketing and business development in general, they need to recognize the limitations of applying social media tactics used by BtoC (business-to-consumer) firms to their businesses. They must think about how to leverage social media in unique and contextually-appropriate ways.
The purpose of the white paper is not to tell leaders of BtoB organizations they should engage in social media. Rather, it is intended to help them better understand what they can do.
New technologies don’t fundamentally change what a firm is trying to achieve. What they do offer are potentially better ways to pursue those objectives. Social media initiatives should be integrated into an enterprise’s other business development activities; however, limited resources may necessitate trade offs. The expected utility of various efforts should be compared to determine which can produce the highest possible return relative to the required investment. Social media approaches are often superior because in addition to other benefits, they enable firms to access “actionable intelligence” from more high-quality sources faster and more cheaply than traditional communication channels.
The Social Media Chain can be conceptualized as follows (click on the image to enlarge it). The upper half of the model represents the Listening Chain, and the lower half represents the Engagement Chain. It incorporates both private (boxed) and public communications.
Participants in the Social Media Chain can listen to the publicly-shared communications of any other participant, even without a direct connection. Though engagement can also occur across levels, participants will generally engage directly with their own clients and prospects.
Listening to and engaging with other Social Media Chain participants can enable BtoB firms to identify and pursue new business opportunities and better serve existing customers. Although engagement itself can’t be focused on selling, listening and engaging can both lead to revenue-generating opportunities.
The white paper describes the Social Media Chain in greater detail and provides examples of how participants can both listen to and engage with individuals and organizations at different levels. It also provides examples of the Trickle Up Socialnomics™ effect resulting from these activities.
I welcome other people’s insights, healthy debate, and questions about the ideas I present in the white paper. Please feel free to share your thoughts as comments on this blog post or on the SMinOrgs SlideShare channel. You may also send your comments and questions privately to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.