The Facebook Era | Clara Shih

Summary of: The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Build Better Products, Reach New Audiences, and Sell More Stuff
By: Clara Shih


Welcome to the fascinating world of online social networking! In this summary of The Facebook Era by Clara Shih, we explore how businesses can leverage social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to build and strengthen relationships with customers and prospects. From hyper-targeted advertising to customer relationship management, discover how companies like Bonobos, Dell, and others have successfully integrated social networking into their business strategy. Observe the power of the online social graph, and learn how it enables companies to gain valuable insights and connections that boost their social capital. Whether you’re involved in B2C or B2B business, join us as we navigate the immense potential of social networking to reach new audiences and sell more effectively.

Building Strong Business Relationships Through Social Networking

In today’s digital age, social networking sites have become powerful tools for building and maintaining business relationships. Online networking allows companies to develop extensive relationships with customers and prospects, leading to hyper-segmentation of the market and immediate sales. For instance, Bonobos, an online retailer specializing in colorful men’s slacks, leverages Facebook’s hypertarget audience segments to send personalized ad messages to defined demographic groups. Similarly, Dell Computer uses crowdsourcing on its proprietary ideation community, IdeaStorm, to gather valuable feedback from enthusiastic online supporters. Dell engineers used this feedback to develop the Linux hardware support that their online community desired. Meanwhile, social networking sites have also made obtaining referrals much easier for sales representatives. Rob, a medical equipment salesman, leverages social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook to scan local doctors’ profile pages and their contacts for strong sales prospects. By mentioning their professional colleagues during sales meetings, Rob strikes a chord with doctors who then enthusiastically refer him to their contacts.

Businesses that harness the power of social networking sites can influence conversations about their products among millions of “netizens” and ultimately build strong business relationships. Online social networking has become the latest version of customer relationship management (CRM). It’s time to take advantage of these vital business-building tools.

The Power of the Online Social Graph in Business

The online social graph is a valuable tool for businesses due to its vastness and impact. The graph enables companies to create meaningful connections with customers, workers, and even potential employees. By leveraging social networking sites, businesses can connect with and engage their target audience, build relationships, reduce costs, and stay competitive in an age where everyone is a publisher.

The online social graph is a map of every person on the internet and how they connect to each other. It has become an essential component of modern business due to its social nature. Sales and referrals, which are critical to the growth of any business, have a far wider reach online than offline. Online connections can be more valuable for businesses in terms of social capital. Companies can create a positive online presence through web pages, videos, blogs, tweets, and other formats that are more likely to be viewed on social network websites.

The goldmine of data available on social networking sites provides a perfect environment for businesses. As conversation about a brand now happens on these sites, social capital is now considered as the “currency of business interactions and relationships.” Interaction costs are minimal, creating relationships with new customers has become a natural process. From a B2C sales environment to high-cost products and services, leveraging contacts online by becoming more likable to potential customers has become of utmost importance. Social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook can be used to build trust and credibility in the B2B industry, search for decision-makers and use cross-selling techniques.

The online social graph also plays an important role in reducing customer service costs by crowdsourcing technical support queries, and outsourcing the prototyping process, allowing businesses to test products prior to commercial release. Firms also use internal social networking sites to gain internal buy-ins and leverage the power of social filtering. In an information-overload age, the power of the online social graph cannot be overstated, and businesses that leverage it can stay competitive, grow, and expand their reach.

Social Media Advertising

Social media platforms like Facebook offer vast opportunities for advertisers to reach specific target audiences. With options like targeted ads, appvertising, social actions, and engagement ads, companies can effectively engage with users in a non-disruptive manner. Social media’s online social graph allows businesses to identify consumers based on location, gender, age, education, workplace, relationship status, relationship interests, and keywords. With billions of daily active users, social media is equivalent to the giant U.S. television networks of the 1950s and 1960s that drew massive audiences, making it a prime marketing channel for modern businesses.

The Power of Word of Mouth

Social media is an effective tool for generating positive word of mouth about products and services. Bonobos has embraced this strategy to great success, utilizing social advertising that can quickly spread virally. The power of these methods was exemplified in Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, which effectively utilized social networking sites to engage younger voters and generate donations. Word of mouth remains one of the defining characteristics of the online social graph and is one of the most powerful forms of promotion available to businesses.

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