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As a social entrepreneur in the BeNeLux my focus lies on a holistic approach for helping companies mature their social media exploits, externally and/or internally. Rogier is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 47 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

The Ten Tenets of Social Business

09.17.2013
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I want to share with you the The Ten Tenets, as put on paper by Dion Hinchcliffe and Peter Kim, in their book “Social Business by Design”, both authors are well seasoned in Social Business and working at Dachis Group (so, all credit goes to them).

The Ten Tenets of Social Business

…the code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules.
– Captain Barbossa

You can find these tenets in the appendices of the book, which makes sense, but to me they were so profound and provided so much clarity that I needed to put them front and centre. I also wanted to elaborate on them, to take each tenet and explain why they make so much sense.

The Ten Tenets

“[These] tenets represent a fundamentally open, participative, scalable, and rich way of living, working, and otherwise connecting and engaging with the world.”

  1. Anyone can participate.
  2. Create shared value by default.
  3. While participation is self-organising, the focus is on business outcomes.
  4. Enlist a large enough community to derive the desired result.
  5. Engage the right community for the business purpose.
  6. Participation can take any direction. Be prepared for it, and take advantage of it.
  7. Eliminate all potential barriers to participation. Ease of use is essential.
  8. Listen to and engage continuously with all relevant social business conversations.
  9. The tone and language of social business are most effective when they’re casual and human.
  10. The effective social business activities are deeply integrated into the flow of work.

I agree, this does look a lot like The Ten Commandments and yes, it might read a bit presumptuous, stating these rules to abide by.

However, I ‘believe’ these tenets, or rules, or fundamentals can be a strong guide for a successful implementation.

Let us dissect them.

1) Anyone can participate

The base (foundation) of Social Business is social. There is no (pre)appointed elite.
The system (community) itself will make the distinction between those who are very active and those who are not, or those who add great value and those who do not.

The influencers need to earn their place. It is not given.

All are welcome, and it’s a safe environment to share your thoughts or to ask questions.

2) Create shared value by default

As far as rules (or guidelines) go, this one is a bit special, because it focuses on content creation. This can be in the form of a white paper, a manual, but also a question or answer can have great added value.

When you consider that anything you create and add to the community creates value, even if it’s just a comment, then the combined effort of the community becomes priceless real quick.

3) While participation is self-organising, the focus is on business outcomes

We don’t want to police the platform. This would inhibit the free flow of information and knowledge.
Providing a transparent platform regulates the use of the platform, there is always social control. Anybody stepping to far out of line will be noticed.

Keeping in mind that the platform is there to serve the business, creating any content reflecting this notion eliminates a certain frivolous attitude found on the public platforms.

4) Enlist a large enough community to derive the desired result

When you want to win the election, you need the majority.
When you want to start a revolution, you need critical mass.

It takes time to reach significant volume. Starting out with Social Business means finding your champions and start somewhere. But, when reached, the community will propel itself.

5) Engage the right community for the business purpose

Relevancy is crucial to building a valuable community that suits your business purposes, or goals.
Only when the right community is engaged will content be created and can critical mass be achieved.

6) Participation can take any direction. Be prepared for it, and take advantage of it

This is a very scary notion. It also separates the winners from the losers.
Providing this transparent platform where anybody can participate invariably leads to a freedom that most have not experienced before.

It can leave them with a need to innovate, to learn, to create forward thinking groups and solution driven debates. This is your advantage. Learning to distinguish between meaningless chatter and constructive ideas.

When point 1 through 5 are adhered to, good things are bound to happen from “letting go”.

7) Eliminate all potential barriers to participation. Ease of use is essential

You need participation, from as many people (employees, customers, partners) as possible.
Be sure the platform you use is as easy to learn and use as anything people are already using. Over complicating things repels the ones who hesitate to join. Your dedicated platform also eliminates as many distractions as possible.

Educate people in the use of the platform.

8) Listen to and engage continuously with all relevant social business conversations

In order to create momentum you need to engage. This is especially relevant for executives. Listening gives unprecedented access to the hearts and minds of your employees, which is, by its nature, your most valuable asset and a bottomless source of innovation.
By engaging in these conversations you can guide the discussion towards a certain outcome, maybe more in line with business objectives.

You can lead through engagement, one comment can entice users to be more engaged, think more about the direction of the conversation or more towards a solution.

9) The tone and language of social business are most effective when they’re casual and human

This seems so obvious, but it’s harder to achieve than you might think, especially for executives who are trained in conversing in a particular manner.
But, this also goes for employees when suddenly confronted with a comment or question from the top floor. They too need to maintain their “normal” tone of conversation in order to convey whatever it is they’re thinking of.

10) The effective social business activities are deeply integrated into the flow of work

The long term concept of Social Business shines through here. A fundamental approach is a necessary step to integrate Social Business throughout the whole company, to make it business as usual.

A critical idea which shapes the whole philosophy of Social Business.

Published at DZone with permission of Rogier Noort, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)