8 Tips for Social Business
Social is now a pivotal point for business transactions. It’s no longer new and is mature beyond the point of being an enjoyable way to pass the time or play games. Social media is, however, young enough that best practices for social business are still being carved out – the standard for enterprise integration of social media has yet to be drawn. The future of business engagement on all levels, whether it be from a sales, HR, customer service or marketing standpoint, is inherently social. It’s where your customers dwell and is now the first language of the next generation of customers and employees alike. Your business is becoming social, and understanding how is the key to success. This paper outlines the path to success in eight simple steps that you can use to implement and evaluate social within your various teams and departments.
It’s important to state there is no correct level of Social Maturity. It’s not a competition. You don’t win by reaching the Social Enterprise stage of the Social Maturity Model, nor are you necessarily a better practitioner of social business by being there. We’ve merely observed that these stages exist and some organizations pass through them sequentially on the way to being a fully engaged Social Enterprise. Others will stay at the Social Team or Advocate stage permanently as the size and scale of their needs simply don’t justify the expansion and necessary provision of resources that goes along with it. We do find it’s helpful for organizations to define where they are in their Social Maturity in order to better understand their present situation and, in cases where it’s appropriate, to prepare to scale and expand a social offering. Ultimately it’s about knowing where you’re headed so you can do a little groundwork before you get there. Social Advocate: This is social engagement at its simplest stage. At this stage, social is in the hands of a single individual within an organization. This person usually has strong personal social involvement and may have emerged from within the organization as a logical leader in social, or perhaps hired specifically to tackle social for the organization – the social expert. Social Teams: A Social Advocate can only do so much. Enter the social team. Typically the Social Team is departmentally focused. In the early days of social, these teams were nearly all centered around marketing or PR, but more recently we’re seeing the spread of social teams throughout an organization.
Understanding Social Business
What is social business, exactly? At the simplest level, social business is when any organization engages with an audience either internal or external, maybe both, using one or many social platforms. This principle applies to businesses of all manner, including boutique fashion designers using Twitter to let eager bloggers and shoppers know that next season’s pieces are en route to retail outlets. Or maybe you’re a globally distributed corporation using multiple social platforms to prospect for sales leads, amplify your corporate culture to support HR, and allow teams to collaborate inter-departmentally, across time zones and diverse cultures. Both examples could be described, reasonably, as practicing social business albeit they occupy positions on either end of a spectrum we define as the Social Maturity Model.
8 Tips for Social Business
Social Business: Once you have a number of social teams operating in separate departments, you’re on your way to the Social Business stage. A more telling and significant sign is the way an organization handles the socially native concepts of openness and transparency. Is your organization having open dialogue in front of its customers, partners, and even competitors? Social Enterprise: A Social Business operating across time zones or cultures. You have good policy governing social engagement that empowers your teams to engage customers directly.