Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Social Business - is your company ready with a strategy?

In my last blog post, I highlighted some interesting topic areas that companies should consider as they get ready for the new Social Business era.  

Here, I'd like to take a deeper look at Social Business Strategy.  The "Taking Social Media from Talk to Action" HBR article provides a statistic that is concerning:  "Two-thirds of users have no formalized social media strategy in place.... many organizations’ activities seem more focused on “making noise” about their company and products, and less on understanding and participating in the conversations already going on about them on the Web."  Why is that?  Perhaps their competitors are 'doing something' in this space which compels them to 'do something' quickly?  Maybe they decide just to start a pilot in this space to better understand it.   Some may realize that it could be very difficult to stop a pilot in this space once companies open the 'social doors' to their customers.  Fast is good.  Collaboration is good.   But ... it will just be about 'making noise' until companies understand how to channel this goodness into Social Business value.  It all starts with strategy, followed closely by an understanding of the long term investment and business value it will drive. 

OK - now your company understands need to create a Social Business Strategy.  What are some key elements that should be considered?  Here are some areas to think about: 

  • Have you listened to what your customers are saying about your company?  How about what they are saying about your competitors?  Do you see opportunities and/or gaps?
  • How does your company collaborate with customers today?  If you gave them more of a 'voice', where could that drive benefit for your company?  Sales?  Development?  Service?
  • If you had a community that supported your company, how could they help drive more sales?  How could you reward this type of behavior?
  • In addition to thinking about collaboration externally, are there efficiencies and benefits that could be gained through employee usage of social media internally?
These are just some questions that companies should ask themselves as they develop strategies to leverage social for business purposes.  Of course, you need to develop and measure success criteria to understand what is working, and what needs to change.  I'll pass along some good advice that I received .... this is a marathon, not a sprint.  If you demonstrate continued passion and focus on the customer in support of business goals, the benefits will follow. 

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