Lee Odden

Essential Resources on Social Business for Online Marketing

socially optimized business - Dachis Group

Attributes of a Socially Optimized Business - Dachis Group

Add “social” to just about anything and you’ll boost interest in your topic by at least 50%. While many consultants appear to be employing that tactic to boost their interesting-ness, it’s not the case with the topic of social business.

As companies work to figure out what role social media will play with external marketing and communications, there’s a rapidly growing trend with progressive companies that are also viewing social media internally. By that I mean, they’re looking at social technologies as platforms to connect people within the company for the purposes of collaboration, tapping into the collective wisdom of the organization and bringing internal social media literacy to a level that enables external communications to scale.

Implications for social business run the gamut of organizational structure from operations to customer service to accounting. And of course, marketing and PR. The fact that social technology can facilitate connections across groups of people world-wide is pretty amazing, especially with Facebook nearing 1 billion users. What’s equally interesting (to me) is the application for surfacing and connecting internal company expertise, collaboration and the multiplier effect of scaling internal resources for external brand social media participation.

If you’re also interested in the topic of social business, here are a few resources I’ve found useful.

Presentations from Altimeter Group, Edelman, Dachis Group, Ant’s Eye View, and IBM.

Jeremiah Owyang – Altimeter Group: Invest in Scalable Social Business Programs

David Armano, Mike Kuczkowski – Edelman Digital: Social Business Planning

Dion Hinchcliffe – Dachis Group: Next Generation Ecosystems

Rowan Hetherington – IBM: Become a Social Business and Get Real Business Results (IBM’s Journey to Social Business)
Also take a look at Rawn Shah’s excellent presentation: Understanding Social Business Excellence.

Christopher Carfi – (Ant’s Eye Vie: Social Business 2012

For those of you who want to dig deeper into the principles and guts of social business, here are 5 excellent books on the topic by authors: Michael Brito, Anthony J. Bradley, Mark P. McDonald, Mike Barlow, David B. Thomas, Jay Baer, Amber Naslund, Dion Hinchcliffe, and Peter Kim.

Books on Social Business

Smart Business Social Business

Smart Business, Social Business: A Playbook for Social Media in Your Organization
Michael Brito

The Social Organization

The Social Organization: How to Use Social Media to Tap the Collective Genius of Your Customers and Employees
Anthony J. Bradley, Mark P. McDonald

Executives Guide to Enterprise Social Media Strategy

The Executive’s Guide to Enterprise Social Media Strategy: How Social Networks Are Radically Transforming Your Business
Mike Barlow, David B. Thomas

Now Revolution

The NOW Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social
Jay Baer, Amber Naslund

Social Business by Design

Social Business By Design: Transformative Social Media Strategies for the Connected Company
Dion Hinchcliffe, Peter Kim (Out May 1, 2012)

I will likely update this post with reports, infographics and events in the coming week. So be sure to revisit the post next Monday. 

social business declaration

Source: Michael Brito

Even if it has been many years since I studied Sociology and Organizational Development at University, I’d still be interested as a marketer in the trend towards social business. Think of the transformations that have happened across the globe by connecting common interests through social channels. What transformation is possible for companies that could release the same spirit of change and improvement within their own organizations, amongst partners and customers?

Rather than looking at this from a pure OD perspective, I’m seeing the marketing opportunities. As our agency TopRank matures and brings on more consulting expertise, we’re definitely elevating our practice areas to include the marketing and public relations aspects of social business. In fact, we’re already doing consulting in the area of online marketing optimization for social business initiatives right now.

To me, social business is a natural evolution of how companies can internalize the social tools and means of collaborating that are becoming the norm for communications with the next generation. It’s a way to tap into expertise more efficiently and effectively to boost organizational intelligence as well as the ability to act more competently as a brand advocate on social platforms.

When it comes to marketing and communications, one social media manager and a social strategist can only do so much. Most companies don’t even have one full-time person dedicated to their social media efforts. What if a company could educate, train and support internal staff to facilitate certain types of external social media communications and even support ala Best Buy’s Twelpforce?

What do you think? How would your company do in an assessment of organizational social media readiness? Are you already leveraging internal social tools like salesforce.com Chatter or similar applications for internal social collaboration?

You can read about how SEO and Content Marketing affects Social Business in my book Optimize, coming out soon. (Wiley) Get a preview of chapters here.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Thanks for the resources Lee, excellent content. I’m looking forward to getting ‘Optimized’ soon. A couple of these books look worthy of a sit-down as well.   

  2. Thanks for the resources Lee, excellent content. I’m looking forward to getting ‘Optimized’ soon. A couple of these books look worthy of a sit-down as well.   

  3. Thanks Lee! This is a powerful collection of resources. Thanks for curating!

  4. Excellent information and resources. Thanks Lee!

  5. Thanks for mentioning Dachis Group and our book, Lee! Looking forward to yours as well.

  6. Thank you so much for this
    comprehensive message! Yes indeed most companies seem to be behind and quite a
    few of today’s fortune 500 should read this article and hire a full time team
    to ponder and reflect on the study carefully presented here while implementing
    an internal “social corporate culture” (à la Zappos). 

    Transformation is mandatory
    while a clear vision of company culture should be defined with a “one
    heart, one mind” approach, where everyone works in a cooperative way in
    order to first quantify “social results” inside! Thank you for this
    report and making it available for us to download. Bruno P. Gebarski, Hamburg,

  7. Lee, I have been reading your blog for sometime now and always appreciate the value that you deliver to your readers. Thanks for providing some fantastic resources. I will be doing some extra reading today! 🙂

  8. Very good info, thanks for sharing. I’m wondering where the stat in your first sentence came from? Was it one of the resources? I’d be interested to read about the testing behind that! 🙂

    • Hey Leigh, do you mean “Add “social” to just about anything and you’ll boost interest in your topic by at least 50%.” That’s a made-up, cynical stat. It’s not real. 🙂

  9. Lee,

    Great collection of resources.  Would be interesting to see your roundup on current technologies companies could use in order to knock down barriers between communication, both between departments and between the project life-cycle between development stages. As many people are grasping towards creating truly integrated social businesses, I think there’s often a lack of information out there about solutions that can make it a reality (and here I am trying to change that!). Thanks again,

    Luke Winter
    Community Manager