What Does it Mean to Be a ‘Social’ Business?

A social business is more than social media. Yet, it’s a term that’s often confused with social media strategy.

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When you begin with business objectives, social technology and the communities they reach social can be evaluated against bona fide priorities that already have team buy-in. For example, taking a closer look at business pillars to assess the criteria that contribute to the success of a company (i.e. sales, employee and customer satisfaction, brand resonance) can reveal primary metrics for assessing the value of a social business strategy.

Each social initiative should be assessed at the functional, line of business, or brand level. From there, ideas must tie value to business goals and consider the team’s ability to execute. Evaluating ideas this way helps to prioritize opportunities while uncovering needs, training, support or assets required to properly execute.


Is it essential to get my senior team on board with our social business strategy?

In our research, we learned that as social media permeates in business, it typically does so from the marketing or communications department. Usually a social media champion rallies adoption within the company.

As social becomes more prevalent in society, more champions arise throughout the company, seeing it as an opportunity to improve how they do things today. As it gains momentum, it creates an internal groundswell that eventually requires budget, resources, training, and governance to support expansion and introduce business standards and goals.

At this point, social usually hits a ceiling that requires senior level sponsorship to truly transform how a company views social’s potential. Anyone experienced in change management will understand that systemic transformation occurs from the top-down. Earning buy-in, making the case, tying strategies to business objectives – this is how you can earn support.


Why do you recommend a three-year ‘social business’ plan?

If there’s one thing we can bet on, it’s that change is not only necessary, it’s slow to appreciate and ultimately unfold. A three-year plan is far enough out to plot a course for transformation, but also tangible in the sense that real programs can be deployed now and over time to the benefit of customers, employees and the bottom line.

Remember, social business isn’t about technology; it’s about attaining goals by improving relationships, driving transactions, and enhancing experiences through channels of relevance. Technology and channels will always evolve and as such, they become enablers for a higher purpose.

This is about the ongoing pursuit of relevance.

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