This Is What The Ideal Social Network For Business Looks Like

My friends at Out-Smarts Marketing asked a question on their Facebook Page that I can’t get out of my mind:


Even though I try to stay positive and open to the constant changes by all of our beloved Social Media tools, I can’t help disliking some of them. Complaining about changes doesn’t usually help and often the changes turn into opportunities.

Example - while I don’t like the “pay to play” strategy of Facebook, I can see the introduction of Edgerank (or should I say the algorithm that replaced it!) in general as positive today.

Facebook’s Edgerank Can Be a Chance For More Interaction on Social Media

My initial answer to the question above was: “Hasn’t been invented yet” but of course Mhairi Petrovic from Out-Smarts didn’t let me get away with that and asked what my ideal Social Network would look like.

Before I get into the answer I need to make one point clear: I don’t see how any Social Media tool could be successful for business without appealing to the general public. Any successful tool needs to work in our private life so it can be successful for business.

Let’s cook up our own Social Media tool:

cook up a social media networkMy Ideal Social Network for business would combine the best features of all existing ones and then some:

The best of Facebook

The biggest asset of Facebook is it’s mass appeal. There are many reasons that Facebook is everywhere. Facebook has actually managed to become part of most of our lives. Even the last few people that refuse to actually have an account acknowledge the important role Facebook plays in our lives.

The best of Twitter

I am a big fan of the 140 character limit that Twitter is based on. The limit keeps us short and to the point - nobody can ramble on.

I love the openness of Twitter - what I say there can be seen by everybody, even if you haven’t ever heard of me before. You don’t need to like my page or put me in some circle.

The best of LinkedIn

LinkedIn has successfully defended it’s title as the favorite Social Network for professionals. I’m not sure what it is exactly but the fact that many in the business world accept LinkedIn as their place to hang out makes it important.

The best of Google+

No other Social Network has polarized the community like G+. It’s biggest challenge (clunky user interface) also is it’s biggest advantage. Google Hangouts are the most amazing part of Google Plus. I’m a firm believer that video conferencing will continue to gain importance in our lives.

The best of Pinterest and Instagram

Pinterest and Instagram have blown the development of visual content out of the ballpark. Telling stories with pictures is an incredible addition to our repertoire of expression and needs to be built into any future platform.

The best of Tumblr

The reason why our kids love Tumblr is to a large extend that Social Media Marketers have not been able to turn it into a big billboard. The secret of Tumblr is it’s anti-commercial culture.

The ideal Social Network for business hasn’t been launched yet.

The pressure is on. Any major new Social Network needs to bring something revolutionary to the table. Unfortunately I don’t know what that will be but there are a few elements on the wish list:

  • Accountable only to the users - the path to the stock exchange should be ruled out from the start. (and yes, I would pay for a premium account if this were the case)
  • Compatibility with all other tools and platforms. It should be our choice where we share content
  • The users decide on the level of privacy they are comfortable with
  • Marketing content needs to be clearly marked to be acceptable

cooking up a social media network imageLet’s cook up our ideal Social Network for Business - please tell me the ingredients you think it needs to have in the comments!



I am the the founder of BlueBird Business Consulting (formerly Tweet4Ok). My focus is on Social Media strategy and education. My blog covers topics ranging from how-to social media posts to more general topics of concern for a rapidly changing digital world. Favourite quote: “To succeed in the business of the future we have to become the very people we are trying to reach” ~ Brian Solis


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Nick Kellet (@NickKellet)
Nick Kellet (@NickKellet) 5pts

It's not just a matter of what's best. you make more of the tools you use, they become more valuable to you because you use them - you become integrated in their networks, content and connections. That is Metcalfe's law in action.It's also a function of which ones work together well. Who plays nice. FB, LI, TW & G+ really don't compliment each other. They each aim to grab your attention.For me I like Twitter due to its brevity. I wish I liked G+ more and more people used it than FB. I'm oh so ready to drop FB.Beyond Networks you need to think about building a tools stack. eg Tools like Triberr, but you only need one of these. More than one gets to compete.And then not to forget content networks. What is your medium of choice? Videos, slides, Images, lists, audio etc?We can't all manage all these things so we have to pick our faves and pick a combination that works for us and our content creation and networking skills and preferences.All your tools should multiply the efforts you put into them. I'm not sure people have strategies for this. They are simply accumulating tools they like - soon they will need to shed some tools/networks. We can't be everywhere. Attention and motivation are finite.

Wendy Kelly
Wendy Kelly 5pts

Really interesting & great timing.I have been pondering which social media channels are the "best" -- And while contemplating this, had a (sort of) epiphany this morning.First I hopped on Facebook just in time to catch Guy Kawasaki's live chat. I learned a ton...and immediately shared s.t. I learned with others on FB...While there, realized that one of my favorite ppl on Google+ (+Peg Fitzpatrick) actually works for/with Guy Kawasaki -- I had no idea. Hopped on to Google+ to reconnect with Pat and realized that, yes, this is the place for intelligent conversations and thoughtful responses...But...seconds later, there I was on Twitter, enjoying the immediacy of having 3 more ppl I had never heard of before @replying to me about my latest blog post, and relishing in the fact that, yes, as @ToyotaBC realized, a recent tweet of mine *was* a great pitch...and so, within seconds, again, I ended up pitching an idea to Top Gear US. Why not?Haven't touched the other platforms this morning, but your idea is a good one. At the same time, isn't this imperfection (lack of the ideal social network) part of what humanizes the experience?I remember at the W.R.I.T.E. 1994 conference in Vancouver one overarching theme I was aware of was dystopia/utopia as the future of the Interwebs -- We actually witnessed the birth of the WWW at that conference, in the form of a flickering, ultimately crashing, far we have come.So, yes, the ideal social network...great idea...and also, well, I guess I'm always one to kind of relish our imperfect perfection.Thanks!

Frithjof 5pts

What a great thought Wendy! You are right - there will probably never be a Social Network that fits all.

Anton Rius
Anton Rius 5pts

This is a really interesting idea, Frithjof. It's funny, because I spent a good part of this year asking myself a similar question. Mine came from a place of being disheartened by the current state of social media and the way people use it.I believe that the true value of social media comes from the relationships formed there. You and I, for example, would have never been introduced had it not been for social media and some key mutual connections. What makes social media powerful is the ability to connect with others who you otherwise would have never met. Often, it stops there. Brands are losing sight of the actual relationships and focusing on the fact that they have one more connection. One more follower. One more visitor to their site.Businesses would do well to act more human online. With that in mind, my ideal network would be more about collaboration and less about broadcasting a message or advertising. But I also think the idea of an "ideal" social network is largely dependent on the way users interact with it. The users get more out of the software if they put more effort into proactively connecting with others.I personally think a good model for a social network would be one that takes it's cues from dating sites. Asking the users to fill out detailed profiles and connecting them to businesses and individuals based on their wants, needs, and interests. The individuals would be served by the businesses based on their needs, and the businesses would be able to help people without resorting to traditional advertising or sales techniques.From a core idea like that, there is a lot of opportunity to layer on some of the same tactics and technology you talk about. I think all of those things are spot on. If you were to take those things and mix them up, I'm sure you'd have something great on your hands.Thanks for taking the time to write such a thought-provoking article!

Frithjof 5pts

Wow, thanks for those insights Anton! I too have a problem with our focus in Social Media. I actually cringe when people refer to me as a Social Media marketer. Not because I'm not one but because of all the bad apples out there. I think Ted Rubin's book "Return on Relationships" should be required reading for anybody in the business.I am very happy we met and I am very much looking forward to talking to you about your approach to this.

Denise Harden
Denise Harden 5pts

This was a great read. I disagree on the categorization of Pinterest with Instagram. Pinterest is more. If an image is pinned rather than uploaded from a website, the source link exists as long as the site does. It's a commonly overlooked source of driving customers to your website.

Frithjof 5pts

Hi Denise! Thanks for adding an ingredient! You are right. I generalized Pinterest and didn't point out this important aspect. I agree the interlinking is a big advantage of tools like Pinterest, Slideshare, Listly.... likely another factor to be considered in the ideal social network.

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