{Today's Business Enriched by Code = Social}

First it was an online brochure called a website, then it was communications via email. Today its a new communications channel called Social Media.

If you stop to reflect on just how much computer software has enriched the business environment over the last decade you will recognize that the process of incorporating even more “code”, in particular social code, into your business practices is not simply a take it or leave it proposition but rather a key business strategy that will contribute to your financial stability and business longevity.

In 1997 Bill Gates wrote a book called Business @ the Speed of Thought which “discusses how business and technology are integrated, and shows how digital infrastructure and information networks can help in getting an edge on the competition. In his book, Gates asserts that cyberspace and industry can no longer be separate entities, and that businesses must change to succeed in the Information Age.”

Considering that this book was written over a decade ago it is often difficult to understand why Canadian Business remain so stubbornly stand-offish with respect to activating their social media channels for digital marketing in spite of all the evidence that it is, indeed, a powerful  new channel for interactive communications with your target audience.  In fact, with social media, especially Twitter, one can finally connect with potential clients in real-time from anywhere.

In 2012 to be Enriched by Code means that you are a Social Business engaged in Digital Sales and Marketing. You  have a “socialized” website because you know that this is key to how your business will be perceived in the social sphere. It shows that you are part of a bigger social movement towards more open, transparent communications with clients unlike the old school business communications which were entirely closed and corporate. Your business will also be active in at least the two leading social networks, Facebook and Twitter. In addition, your business will be creating great content through a blog or info graphics or photos or videos and will be continually curating the best of the content relevant to your market conversation so that it can be shared to your Social Media networks in order to build influence and awareness of your brand. Over time this will translate into sales. The sales cycle for every business via social media will be different as there are a 3 key factors that contribute to how quickly you make sales as a result of our online marketing efforts.

1. How effective your website is in making an offer that is irresistible to your target client.  Are you communicating real value in exchange for currency?

2. How unique your offer is compared to your competition. Is is really that different or is it just another “vanilla version” of what any number of other sites with the same product or services is offering?

3.  How well you can drive traffic to your site via your online marketing efforts, i.e. social media. This will be directly related to the time and money you invest in social media.

Although major social media platforms are free and will enrich your business communications you must invest time and money into maintaining them either by learning how to manage them yourself or by hiring a specialist. Like the desktop software programs that preceded the internet era, with social networks, you have to make a long-term commitment to master them, for they will continue to  change even faster than those yearly standard software upgrades you are used to. Working to integrate them into your sales and marketing plan in order to realize the benefits of being fully engaged equals a business enriched by code.

Over the next decade more and more of our economy will become digital as the information age fueled by our electronic environment continues to expand its social networks around the world enriching our personal, social and business lives. On a scale of one to ten how enriched by code is your business?