We have talked about the power of utilizing social networks for businesses before in our Weekend Reading series with books like The Facebook Era, by Clara Shih and Crush It!, by Gary Vaynerchuk, and this week we’ve got another book under a similar vein. Published just last month, Social Networking for Businesses: Choosing the Right Tools and Resources to Fit Your Needs, by Rawn Shah is a guide for companies looking to take advantage of the collaborative communities of social networks to improve their business.
Author Rawn Shah has plenty of experience in this very subject as he is the Best Practices Lead on the Social Software Adoption Team at IBM. In Social Networking for Businesses, Shah breaks down the essentials and methods of modeling social experiences for businesses to get the most out of their users and customers. One of the most important factors to the success of social business experiences is the leadership of those experiences, says Shah, who points to the success of blogs and Wikipedia as examples.
“The success of each blog is a result of the leadership of its owners, who independently set the rules for what to publish and who can contribute,” says Shah. Wikipedia, he says, only succeeded when its leadership structure changed to let anyone to contribute, allowing the best content to rise to the top and be curated by public editors.
“This defining change in how people could make decisions on the content and direction of the site — a leadership model that allowed anyone to become an editor and leader — drove Wikipedia’s overwhelming success,” says Shah.
Other topics covered by Shah in his book include building skills to create and manage social experiences, building a social culture within your business, collaborating with customers and users on ideas, and measuring the results of social environments.
“Online communities and social computing software are rapidly appearing both on the Internet and within organizations as a means to allow people to collaborate, although quite frequently without a plan or a link to organizational and business value,” says Shah. “By framing collaboration around specific goals and methods instead of herding people towards generic ideas, social computing can help develop and direct innovative development in an organization.”
This book is a little more of a deep-dive than some of the other books we’ve recommended over the last several weeks. If your startup is looking to encourage unique social interaction between your users and your business, this could be a great book to check out.