Wednesday 28 September 2016

Learning To Fly: The Four Stages of Social Business

Originally posted on Logic + Emotion.


(Click image to enlarge)

Time to talk about social business planning again. My mother always told me, you have to “walk before you run” and as it turns out, the same is true for organizations looking to move from social media as a set of un-connected, chaotic collection of skunk work initiatives to a coordinated and purposeful initiative that works through the entire organization. Of course, this will take time—years most likely. But it’s inevitable in my estimation. As I’ve said before—the end game is integration. The above chart is generic—it can be applied to some organizations (especially large ones with a global footprint). If your company wants to learn to fly and integrate a social “layer” into everything you do here are a few thoughts as you plot your own roadmap:

Crawling: People, Process, Procedure

In the initial stage of the evolving your business into one that not only leverages “social media” in one function (such as marketing), an organization must come to the point where it realizes it “has a problem”. Then the first stage can begin on the right footing. “Crawling” involves putting in the right infrastructure which includes some organizational re-design. This is when the center of excellence should be formed and where education, standardization and active listening is put in place.

Walking: Managing Your Properties

With some basic infrastructure in place, an organization must now “take stock” of all the social properties which either exist or need to and devise the appropriate strategy to get these properties moving in the right direction. In this stage assets like content are especially important as it’s lower risk than really diving in deeply and over-engaging. However, this is also the stage where an organization really defines its engagement strategy across multiple business functions, from employee to customer care to outward marketing and more.

Running: Ecosystem Engagement At Scale

At this stage, an organization has put in the internal and external designs in place and are running multiple social initiatives at a global scale with an established degree of efficiency. Most importantly an organization has evolved into one that can engage with multiple stakeholders to the level that works for its business (regulated industries will have unique challenges here). At the running stage, multiple ecosystems are also connected—for example the process and tools for managing scores of social networks have been formalized.

Flying: Social Innovation Organizational Integration

Organizations at this stage have not only integrated “social” into most everything they do—they are using the intelligence to improve their business, create new products and services and can digest data in ways that predict potential future outcomes. Organizations which “fly” have embedded a social mindset into much of what they do and have re-tooled entire business functions. For example, an organization which has completely overhauled its customer service function to work as effectively as it does in channels such as a call center (at scale) are at the flying stage in some degree.

From my experience talking and working with large global brands—very few are even close to flying but most seem to have a desire to get there at some point, understanding that the process will be a long and winding road. I’ve found this model resonates both at the CMO, CEO and senior management levels. Where do you fall on the spectrum?


Image credit: chaztoo

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