Summary of A World Gone Social by Ted Coiné and Mark Babbit

BookSummaryClub Blog Summary of A World Gone Social by Ted Coiné and Mark Babbit

Social media has successfully taken the world by storm. At first, it was seen as something for the young, cool ones, but more and more people of all ages began to see the appeal. You could connect with old friends, see what your favourite celebrities are up to and share your experiences with the rest of the world. Today, social media has an even bigger influence on our lives as it guides the decisions we make daily. This is extremely important, especially for business owners because it means that social media opens up entirely new possibilities. 

Social media should therefore not be disregarded by business owners. Understanding how social media can influence customers, sales and brands is an important tool to have in your wheelhouse. 

In this book summary readers will discover:

  • How social media has made companies realise the importance of the human side of business
  • The damage that social media can inflict
  • The power of engagement
  • Social media enables people to come together to form extraordinary teams
  • Don’t make the mistake of thinking social media is just for startups

Key lesson one: How social media has made companies realise the importance of the human side of business

Social media has had an interesting effect on how companies work. Believe it or not, it has made companies focus on the human side of business and not only on profits. Not only have companies created a more appealing work environment for current employees but also in order to attract new talent. Before social media, candidates had limited ways in which to find out more about the company. However, this has all changed. Candidates can easily contact current and former employees as well as check numerous websites to find out all about the company. Thus, if employees are unhappy with their work environments, it’s easy for them to share their experiences which can ultimately influence possible new recruits. 

In addition, social media has also changed the way companies think about marketing. Once again, the human side of business is taking preference as companies have discovered the potential of influencers. Influencers allow companies to easily reach their target audiences making their reach much more powerful. Many companies have changed how they market their products to the public because of this enabling even small companies and startups to flourish in the business world.

Key lesson two: The damage that social media can inflict

Before social media, losing a customer didn’t really hurt a company. Today, however, this could not be more untrue. You see, social media has given people a platform to voice their grievances. A single unhappy customer can be heard by millions of people, worldwide. 

A good example of this was seen when Dave Carroll, a musician, witnessed his guitar being tossed around by United Airlines baggage handlers. When he finally reached his destination, he was devastated to see his guitar damaged beyond repair. When he complained to customer service, they refused to replace his guitar. A frustrated Carroll penned a song called United Breaks Guitars which gathered no less than 14 million views on YouTube. This song and video put United on the map and not in a good way. The hit United took to its reputation and overall image cost them much more than it would have to replace Carroll’s guitar. 

Thus, all it takes is one bad review to damage a company. Every person who uses social media does so within a network of users. Their single post can influence their entire network with the added potential of then being spread to other people’s networks. So, nowadays losing a single customer is indeed a big deal.

Key lesson three: The power of engagement

Due to how much damage a negative online post can have on a company, it is best to avoid them altogether. To do this, companies strive to engage with their employees in an attempt to determine what they need and how they can give it to them. In doing so, they build a strong company with strong and supportive relationships. Satisfied employees can benefit a business in many ways. They are more productive, procure higher sales figures and maintain high profits. 

So, what’s the best approach to engage with employees? First of all, this is not an HR issue. High-level management has to take the first steps. Being social through face-to-face communication or via social media can make employees feel more appreciated and comfortable overall. This can improve how employees feel about the companies they work for. 

But it’s not only employees that companies would engage with. Customer engagement is a huge part of business. One of the authors knows this all too well as he witnessed it firsthand. He tweeted a question to Zappos about buying shoes. Zappos failed to respond to him but an intern from another company called Topo Athletics did. This led the author to purchase shoes from Topo Athletics and tweet about his experience. One of his friends saw this and she, too, engaged with the company. She also wrote about her experience for a local newspaper explaining the effective use of social media. In the same article, she happened to mention her training for an upcoming race. Topo Athletics saw this and once again engaged with her via Twitter and sponsoring her running shoes for the marathon. This led to them gaining a loyal customer and recognition for their company.

Key lesson four: Social media enables people to come together to form extraordinary teams

Everyone has a unique set of skills that they have developed over the years. However, whilst we may be good at some things, there are other areas that leave us feeling a bit lost. Social media has the ability to link us with others in our network who are experts in fields that we are not. What this means is that groups of people have the potential to form strong and diverse teams with a wealth of knowledge between them. 

Then there are individuals who are famous experts in their respective fields but choose to share their knowledge readily with others online. How? Well, they can use social media platforms such as Wikipedia, Facebook and Twitter to share their knowledge and connect with others. 

In addition, using these platforms is a nifty way to find solutions to any challenges you are facing. The answer may not come easily to you but somewhere out there, there might be someone who can help. A company called InnoCentive takes this concept to the next level. The company runs contests that allow people to come up with innovative ideas for their clients. In this manner companies represented by InnoCentive save money on market research and in some cases, research and development as well. 

So, social media can provide a way to connect with experts and help your company succeed in ways you never thought possible. 

Key lesson six: Don’t make the mistake of thinking social media is just for startups

The mistake that many well-established companies make is thinking that they don’t need social media as it is a tool mostly for those companies needing to build their customer base. No matter the size of your organization, how old the business is and what sector it belongs to, it can definitely benefit from social media. Two billion people are on social media. This means that there are two billion potential customers for your company to attract. Which business is going to let that opportunity slip by?

Beyond potential new customers, we now also know about the benefits of online engagement. Companies can engage with both employees and customers to ensure that everyone is satisfied and that problems can be easily solved. It is recommended that companies should also ensure that their online reputation remains intact by conducting social media audits. In this way, not only will they ensure that they have engaged with everyone they had to but will also ensure that there is no wrong information posted by mistake. 

There are few simples steps to follow in order to do this. Firstly, your company should be represented across all social media platforms using the same logo, fonts and branding messages. This ensures that your company is consistently presented properly and easily recognizable across platforms. Secondly, your company needs to have clearly defined expertise and offer a product or service within its brand. You should not do too much and confuse your potential customers and recruits. Thirdly, learn to see problems as opportunities to learn and grow. If a customer complains, engage with them and learn what led them to feel the way they do. This will give you the opportunity to publicly redeem the company and learn how to avoid similar situations in future. Lastly, you should always make certain that your company is engaging with their customers. This should be done constantly and not only if you notice a problem. Responding to comments or mentions on social media should be done quickly to make customers value you more. Monitoring tools can help you keep track of hashtags and terms relating to your brand. It will let you know when they are used and enables quick catches if things go wrong. 

All in all, social media is a beneficial tool for all companies regardless of size and sector. With a little bit of effort, you can reap the benefits and see your business achieve success.

The key takeaway from A World Gone Social is: 

Social media has provided a valuable tool to link both customers and companies. Businesses need to be aware of just how influential social media can be and use this to their advantage. Actively engaging with customers and employees leads to better relationships and a more successful business overall. In addition, a powerful online presence also makes it possible to attract new talent. It does matter how old your company is or whether it is big or small, embracing social media will be a step in the right direction. 

How can I implement the lesson learned in A World Gone Social:

You can use social media to advertise new positions in your company in order to attract potential new recruits. Instead of HR handling the process, a single post can reach out to your network and attract the relevant, qualified persons. This saves time and money in the recruitment process especially if the applicant has expertise that is evident from their online presence.

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