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The Social Business Cookbook


Social business success has been a prickly enough subject for long enough now for a number of guides to emerge to hopefully help organizations wishing to become more social.  Not least of course my own, that was published recently (ahem).

One such guide is The Social Business Cookbook that has been produced by Shilbrook Associates very own Lawrence Clarke and Peter Furtado, with Gary McPherson from 4Roads.  I’ve known Lawrence for a few years now and he’s an authoritative voice in the online community world.  It’s perhaps no surprise therefore that the crux of the snappy guide is on how to build a successful online community.  That’s their forte, so they leave things such as social performance reviews or open innovation to others.

“The Cookbook is aimed to help busy decision-makers who want to make the most of the opportunities presented by social. Designed to be absorbed on a train journey, it is intended to provide a general framework to help them plan confidently for their particular situation, build the business case and get the planning right.” Clarke said.

The guide uses a cooking metaphor throughout, exploring the relative ingredients and recipes for community success.  Whereas there have been several other books on building online communities written over the years, with Patrick O’Keefe’s Managing Online Forums arguably the most well known.

Whereas that book, and indeed others, provide a great insight into the nuts and bolts of online community management, the Social Business Cookbook starts the journey at the very beginning, exploring both the culture of the sponsoring organization, and the purpose of the community they are looking to build.

That’s a nice thing to read as it still seems commonplace for organizations to put something up on social media just because they feel they need to, bypassing any attempt at understanding what the community will exist for, what it will hope to achieve, and of course therefore how they will measure its success.  It’s a topic I griped about a few years ago, yet it’s one that certainly bears repeating.

The guide certainly isn’t a long one, coming in at just 48 pages, and the cooking metaphor can feel a bit forced after a while, but nonetheless, it provides a good introduction to the various thoughts you should look into before launching a community.  No doubt Shilbrook will provide their services to add their expert meat to the bones of the Cookbook, so it’s arguable how beneficial the guide is on its own.

The book is free to obtain however, so if communities are your thing then it’s well worth checking out.  Due to its short nature you can probably get through it in an hour or so.  Request your copy from Shilbrook’s technical partner and publisher 4 Roads website here.

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