in Digital & Social

The Hyper-Social Organization

It seems that we are only at the early stages of truly understanding how companies must adapt their business processes and resources to fully realize the potential associated with becoming a social organization. At the February 22nd Third Tuesday event in Toronto, Francois Gossieaux, co-author of The Hyper-Social Organization, shared some leading insights, supported by intriguing case studies and data, on why businesses must become hyper-social in order to survive and thrive in the era of social media.

According to Gossieaux, companies do not just need to understand Web 2.0 technologies, they also need to understand basic, if not primal, “human 1.0” tendencies.

Case-in-point, while we often tell others what we think we actually want, our decisions and actions often speak otherwise. Recently, JetBlue surveyed their passengers asking what kind of snacks they would like to receive during flights. Respondents indicated that they would like to receive healthy snacks, and JetBlue revised their offerings accordingly. However, as it turned out, the healthy snack offerings were not well-received.

Gossieaux also touched on people’s desire for status and power, and mentioned that he believes social leader boards will take off as a result. If you’re not familiar with social leader boards, they’re becoming prevalent in applications such as FourSquare, and are also being used in some online communities as a gaming mechanic. Participants earn points for completing various tasks, with leader boards indicating where people are on the power ladder – enabling comparison of rank and creating incentive to earn more points.

How can companies become more social? Here are a few key steps Gossieaux suggested companies focus on:

  1. Become human-centric as opposed to company-centric. Be ready to engage with consumers wherever they are, using platforms they use. Hierarchical, fixed processes for response need to give way to nimbleness – people want responses to their suggestions, and fast.
  2. Start thinking in terms of tribes, and not market segments (hat tip to Seth Godin – read more about tribes here). We have been hard-wired to think in a particular manner for eons, and this needs to be overcome.
  3. Focus on knowledge networks, and not information channels. The most important conversations happen within networks of people, and not between company and community. To highlight this, Gossieaux cited a great stat from the McKinsey Report – 60 to 80% of all buying decisions are made without consumers receiving information directly from the brand!
  4. Increase resources devoted to social. 67% of companies surveyed have only one-full time or part-time employee involved with social programs. Consider establishing a social media center for excellence – covering all departments.
  5. Think culture, not technology. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are just tools.  Leverage them to the best of your ability – but realize that tools will evolve, and be ready to use whatever is available.

Now, I’m off to Indigo to buy the book …