This post originally appeared on Forbes.com.
If Facebook has taught us anything over the past few years it has taught us this:
1. A hacker culture works to drive accelerated growth in a business. Mark Zuckerberg writes in a letter to his investors, “Hackers believe that something can always be better, and that nothing is ever complete. They just have to go fix it — often in the face of people who say it’s impossible or are content with the status quo.” It’s hard to argue that this approach doesn’t work. Facebook today has over 850 million people and to give you some perspective, that would make it the third largest continent in the world behind Asia and Africa. So clearly, a hacking culture does help move a business and it’s product forward. But why should a hacking culture be limited to a silicon valley technology company?
2. The world is social. Legacy, societal hierarchies no longer exist. Almost every day I encounter new stories with a similar theme: a group of like-minded individuals come together to affect change – and they do so from the bottom up. A great example is something called Cash Mobs, where a group of people visit a local business, as a large group, and share in a collective spending spree. In many cases they can even alter the prices of products. It happens organically and it happens from the bottom up.
Yet another example is one I learned about recently, called “Invisible Children.” This movement is working to disarm Joseph Kony, one of the world’s worst war criminals, from his position of power in Uganda. When the movement first started, the members unsuccessfully challenged government officials to intervene. Shortly thereafter, the organization decided to use social media to raise awareness and demand change. As a result, they were able to to generate participation from hundreds of thousands of people, the original naysayers, acclaimed celebrities and even President Obama. In today’s world, all organizations should expect this paradigm shift to affect their business in one way or another – without their control and without their permission.
So how can businesses embrace a Facebook-like hacking culture that could lead to accelerated growth?
Here are a few corporate hacks you can use to make your company faster and more social:
The “Team Collaboration” Hack: Assembling and curating ideas can be very time-consuming. It can also destroy your email inbox and waste hours of your day. Instead of accruing very long email threads, create a private Facebook group to facilitate the conversation. It is a free, private forum and you can invite only those you want to invite.
The “Customer Service” Hack: Social media is less about “media” and more about real communications between real people. People will either praise your brand or complain about your product so make sure you have people on your team listening to your brand. You can create google alerts or twitter alerts using their search functionality and RSS feeds. This will alert you when certain keywords are mentioned and from there, you can reach out to engage with them.
The “I Need Legal’s Approval” Hack: In many corporations, marketing teams require legal approval. In today’s market there are many recent law graduates looking for work. Think differently about hiring and consider opportunities for lawyers to be an integral part of your social media marketing efforts. You’ll have someone on board that can quickly approve content.
The “Product Development” Hack: Why spend a ton of energy and time trying to figure out what your customers want? Simply ask your customers what products they want and use that feedback in your product development cycle. If you don’t ask, they’ll tell you anyway so you might as well ask.
The “Customer Acquisition” Hack: People are opting in to become fans and followers of certain brands. It is now easier than ever to identify and recruit customers of your competitors. Just look at their social media properties, reach out, and engage in good, meaningful dialogue.
Those are just a few social hacks to drive additional progress in your organization. What else have you seen?