I just finished reading a wonderful book by Larry Webber on social networks. He offers that social networks create the very best, low-cost, advertising, marketing and business development platforms in business today. He recommends to companies like Coors that instead of spending money on yet another ad during the Super Bowl that has little or no real correlation to more people buying beer, that it considers creating an online community where their customers and even their competitors customers (not for long though) can come and compete to win trips out west to go white water rafting or to some other great destinations for fun.
What a simple concept, but, just like so many companies during the dot.com boom, companies today have what I call an "80’s mentality." They are actually stuck in an old network paradigm of paying for "passive" eyeballs to look at pictures or even video "passively" on a screen, and, then, somehow, miraculously, decide to "actively" go buy whatever the company is selling in their very friendly, fun ad.
Juxtapose the sliding hope of selling those old-fashioned ads, now, to online social networks and communities that create "active" participation where people move from visitors into loyal fans as the site and the people on the site become one of their favorite places to hang out. We have only touched the surface of online communities. If I had my way, these communities would be much more active and even facilitated by experts who further engage the participants through ongoing events—both live and online. I am now engaged with several large organizations helping them build online networks with their customers helping them grow their brands as well as their revenues with a socially responsible focus.
I have also been building my own communities that I use as feeders into other communities. To this end, anyone who wants to visit our online community can join at www.networlding2.org or on LinkedIn if you are socially responsible. These communities bring companies and people who practice the values of making a difference, integrity, innovation and collaboration together to make money while making a difference. The good news now its time for ANYONE and I mean ANYONE who really wants to grow a vibrant company and who is entrepreneurial and has even a small amount of investment capital, to throw his or her hat in the ring. May the best men or women win and, I believe like you do Terry, they will be people like you and me who get social networking and online community building.
Social Media Visionary and Author