Ed. note: This is the second in a series of excerpts from The Social Customer, the new guide to modern marketing by Adam Metz. For the first entry, go here.
While using social media and becoming a social customer is hardly an act of rebellion, at some point it was. My Yelp.com profile, which contains a few hundred restaurant and hotel reviews, is hardly controversial today, but when I launched it five years ago, in 2006—it was a pretty controversial platform, because it undercut Zagat and the local newspaper.
A lot of people in my field call Paul Greenberg “the Godfather”—he’s known as the preeminent voice in Social Customer Relationship Management (his book CRM at the Speed of Light is probably the clearest, best book on the subject). The combination of DIY culture and Paul Greenberg’s words represent, to me, the yin and the yang of the social customer. Greenberg’s eye-in-the-sky view reflects on the decades-long series of business changes that have brought us to this point, and the DIY feet-on-the-street view illustrates the cultural changes that have been percolating for over 30 years, making this evolution possible.
I’ve been on the Internet, in one way or another, for over 20 years, since I was 13, in 1990. Technically, as a 33-year-old, I’m a Gen Xer, but in my heart I feel more like a Millennial because I was handed my first computer at the age of five (a Commodore 64), and taught to program by my physicist/management consultant dad, Phil.
I’m going to make one promise here: to the best of my ability, The Social Customer will explicitly tell you how your company can drive revenue from the social Web and have mutually valuable and profitable relationships with the social customer. Driving millions of people to interact with your brand (10 to 500 million) and making that kind of money, on a large scale, is extraordinarily resource intensive, but it usually yields amazing results. Nearly three-quarters of your customers (B2B and B2C) are now the social customer, according to Forrester Research’s 2008 and 2009 Social Technographics studies. If your customers are under the age of 25, nearly 90 to 95 percent of them are "the social customer."
If you’re into recruiting dozens of people from different departments and mobilizing them into a million-dollar social-business action machine that generates huge business outcomes, awesome. If not, you might want to put this book right back on the shelf and get a more low-key business book that will help you fulfill more modest expectations.
(If you’re looking for guides to the tools of social media and how to turn your public relations into “social media PR,” just head over to our bookstore. The Social Customer book won’t help with those objectives, because it’s about social business, not social media.)