THE PARADOX OF LEADING A SOCIAL BUSINESS

The Paradox of Leading a Social Business, recently published in the MIT Sloan Management Review, struck me as a great article on the evolution of social media and integration into marketing efforts.  It reminds us that social media continues to change and many successful plans begin – as they should – as grassroots efforts.  The key is to regularly use the various platforms so you can engage and interpret how your users would like to have the conversation with you – then you adapt to their feedback.

“The result of this approach to social business leadership yields a recursive feedback loop. Leaders set a vision for social business in their organization; employees execute that vision, with results that may differ somewhat from expectations. Grass-roots champions then provide feedback to leaders on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the initiatives. This feedback allows leaders to refine their vision and set the compass for the next stage of the journey.”

An example of this from our agency:  When I opened SK&Co, my press kits were actually a leather luggage tag – a nod to our brand being synonymous with a train station.  Each tag contained agency information and my business card neatly folded into the luggage tag and packaged in clear, branded boxes that could be mailed.  Recipients loved the luggage tags and actually wanted to use them.  Pretty soon I was receiving pictures from destinations where my clients, friends and associates were traveling with their Station K & Co luggage tag!

This inspired us to continue using luggage tags as a marketing tool, and we mail out new ones each year over the holidays to thank our clients and business partners.  We encourage them to shoot photos of their luggage tags during their journeys and post on our Facebook and Twitter pages.  We’ve seen them travel all over the world – from London to New Zealand, to Hawaii and Alaska, to New York, Arizona, LA and Florida.  This initiative became popular because it evolved organically – we listened to how people wanted to engage with us and made that exchange part of our campaigns.

Your turn. Let us know how the evolution of social business has impacted you in the comments below.

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