The London Post

Forget Social Media, Think Social Business

I’m soloing on this episode to devote time to a strategic topic. In fact, this topic is the reason I named this podcast ‘Social Business Engine’. I’m going to present my case for why we, in business, need to stop talking about ‘social media’ and instead focus on ‘social business’.

Evolution of Engagement

When the telephone was first introduced about 100 years ago as a means of engagement, it was revolutionary. Many executives were resistant to put a phone on employees’ desks due to the lack of control they would have over what their employees said. Fast forward to about 30 years ago, email was the next revolutionary communication tool, and it also had a slow adoption rate among executives due to the same fear.

It’s no surprise that social media has been greeted with similar reactions from executives. Just like the telephone and email, social media is used both personally and in business. This evolution of engagement is a maturation process, or journey which businesses and employees go through together.

What is a Social Business?

An organization matures into a social business when they change how they view the role of social media in their business. Instead of looking for Likes, retweets or follows, they become focused on business outcomes.

Here are the 5 pillars of a social business:

  1. The executives get it
  2. All departments are involved
  3. Social technology is embraced
  4. Training and governance are provided
  5. There’s a solid content strategy

A social business has an organization-wide view of marketing. This is where advocacy comes into the picture – if people, both customers and employees, are happy with their experiences with your brand; they’ll be willing to advocate for you.

Why Become a Social Business?

So what’s in it for you? In the social culture in which we live, customers want to engage with real people and not a logo. Becoming a social business humanizes your brand. It encourages internal and external collaboration where people connect and engage with each other on topics relevant to your brand.

As a social business, you can deliver a better customer experience and potentially provide better customer service. Another outcome social businesses see is an improved sales cycle. You can also incorporate social into your recruiting strategy to attract and retain talent.

Social Businesses in Action

According to BernieBorges these examples all illustrate a transition from a social media marketing mindset to a social business mindset.

A social business will thrive when executives are on board, all departments are involved, investments are made in social technology, training, and governance are provided, and there’s a content strategy in place.

Marketing Transformation

The traditional marketing department is set to fail in the modern era. There are too many demands placed on the marketing organization from the C-Suite to demonstrate ROI. Cross-functional marketing is not an option, and all departments should be involved.

My ice cream sandwich framework is a three-layer approach to organization-wide marketing:

Action Plan to Become a Social Business:

  1. Become storytellers.
  2. Find the “Chewbacca Moms.”
  3. Invest in technology.

Everything comes back to what I said earlier; marketing is not one department. Social business is a mindset focused on business goals. Following my ice cream sandwich framework will assist in creating a cross-functional marketing strategy.

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