Bob Warfield does a great job of summarizing “The Eight Flavors of Social” in his post from October 19 .
While I don’t disagree with Bob on these eight popular forms of social media, I might wish to offer an alternative to it or perhaps something that builds on this foundation.
To me social media comes in only two fundamental forms, inbound and outbound and like the blood supply to your brain you need both. If you prefer a different metaphor, recall the mantra from the original “Karate Kid” movie — “wax on, wax off.” Either way, you’ve gotta have both.
We’ve done a fabulous job of adopting the outbound side of the social equation and a passable job on the inbound, at least in personal use. But I think the big thing we aren’t getting fully yet is the power of the inbound for business.
In your personal life there is an implied quid pro quo with friends — I’ll look at yours because you look at mine. However, this approach is unreliable because we look when we can or want to or when we are bored. For business use we need greater assurance that our outbound messages are received, understood and acted on. In our personal lives the candy at our social sites — the thing that friends come back for — is the intimate detail of our lives. In business, the candy usually has a string attached because vendors want us to buy things.
For social to fully transition and make it in business there has to be a way to attract people, which means that if we’re using social as a glorified email marketing tool, and if we’re not getting the results we want, we may wish to reconsider how we do things. That’s where communities come in. You can ask any sort of open-ended question in a community and if you follow the threads and apply analytics you might discover the reasons that people are attracted to your business in the first place. With that you can significantly improve your outbound stream and complete the loop.