Social Business Def. — The natural evolution of an organization to transition from a tactical approach to addressing the social customer to a strategic framework to strengthen a brand and drive revenue/growth.
Social Business – The Imperative
The social customer is nothing new but the idea of organizing your business entirely around social is and gaining steam. What’s driving this fundamental shift from a tactical approach to a strategic alignment? The difference today is that the social customer now has a voice that can travel quickly and is influential enough to be amplified on the social web and appear in search engine results – across any device. The brand has become the best tool in a marketers’ arsenal to attract attention, motivate to purchase and propel a customer to advocate on its behalf.
It’s imperative that marketers react quickly and consistently at all customer touch points. Current organizational silos prevent a means to gather and share centralized customer intelligence mined from their behaviors and conversations – and as a result, brands are losing market share, growth and revenue. The enterprise needs to restructure to create a ‘socialized’ marketing engine to address the social customer.
Social Business – The Evolution
The evolution to a social business considers the following business practices as it relates to marketing, sales, and customer support:
- Governance & workflow
- Brand & audience alignment
- Organizational models
- Internal collaboration
- Employee activation & education
- Global outposts
“A social business doesn’t just do social, they think in terms of test, learn, scale as opposed to 18 month marketing plans…and they use an analytics culture to shape and adjust and augment strategy on the go.”
The Social Business Model
An organization must first exemplify characteristics of a social business if they truly want to be an effective social brand and ultimately achieve an alignment between an engaged internal organization and its ability to communicate with its customers consistently, efficiently and effectively. Typically, social is centered around corporate marketing who aligns marketing and sales activities by targeted audience, not product and/or service, sourcing what they need from business units.
Internal organizational engagement involves the optimization of the following assets:
- Executive Sponsorship & Thought Leadership
- Social Media Stakeholders & Center of Excellence (COE)
- Collaborative Organizational Structure
- Strategic Planning & Brand Advocacy
- Playbooks & Guidelines
- Toolkits & Measurement
- Philosophy & Culture
- Social Listening
- Publishing & Social Media Management
- Measurement & Reporting
- Social CRM & Marketing Automation
- Content Hub Platform (Community, Micro-Site, Forums, website, etc.)
Externally, customer engagement is achieved when the organization understands its target audiences and preferred channel utilization. Marketers work to define groups of similar audience members and direct specific activity and/or conversations directly toward those groups through an optimal mix of media. Brand messages are tailored to reach distinct social segments based on geography, interests, and/or demographics.
Organize Around Social in 3 Steps
To know whether your organization is ready for social requires some initial discovery. Within 4 months and some analysis of current assets, you can begin to experiment with social to find the right mix and channel utilization to develop an integrated and unified marketing strategy.
The Result: A Fully Collaborative Social Organization
In a fully collaborative social organization, there is a Social Media Center of Excellence (COE) team that reports into corporate marketing. The COE serves as a governing body and is responsible for creating governance models (policies), facilitating best practice sharing, training and many times they are creating the global and brand strategy for social media.
This type of organization is empowers and amplifys employees to engage externally regardless of their job function or what business unit they report into. In many cases, the business unites (product organization, customer support, human resources, sales and various geographies) are responsible for the execution of social media programs, leveraging best practices, strategic support and guidance from the COE.
We want to leave you with this important thought. For sure, it is challenging for brands to make the transition to a real-time customer engagement business model. It goes against the ‘siloed’ grain of the enterprise – the way corporate works with layers of bureaucracy and endless approval cycles. But to survive in a world where your brand prevails, organizations have to move at the speed of social conversation.