Wednesday 25 April 2018

What’s Your Social Business Plan?

Outside the Twitter bubble, the term “social business” has yet to reach the same level of search volume as “social media”, obviously. Take for example the following graph taken from Google Trends that compare both terms.

In fact, the actual term “social business” as a specific topic of conversation may never reach the same volume as “social media” or even come remotely close. But the truth is that conversations related to social business are happening all the time. Doing a quick search of #socialbiz hashtag in Twitter clearly shows that IBM owns the conversation – with several IBM employees tweeting about technology, collaboration, leadership, etc. It’s safe to assume that IBM is truly a social business.

I have always been a firm believer that an organization cannot have effective external conversations with the social customer unless they can have effective internal conversations with each other first. And internal communication means more than just a few weekly conference calls and perhaps deploying Jive applications internally to facilitate collaboration.

A true social business requires a change in behavior. It requires organizational leadership to embrace the social customer, tear down organizational silos, empower the organization to share knowledge across job functions and geographies, and invest in technology that will help facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing. It’s more than lip service too. These change management initiatives have to be driven by organizational leadership and practiced at every level in the organization from senior leadership all the way down to a customer support agent. Otherwise, change will not occur. This means that executives must not only talk about changing the organization but exemplify the behaviors that really do facilitate and practice change.

An organization that uses social media to engage externally with customers is a social brand; not necessarily a social business. There is a huge difference.

However, in order to see true business results, the social brand initiatives and social business planning need to be aligned. This requires a shift in thinking because aligning external and internal initiatives is not quite the norm for business today.

To ensure alignment, having a social business strategy is imperative. A social business plan will include the following:

  • Organizational design: a scalable social organizational model for teams, departments, groups or the full enterprise w/clarifying roles responsibilities
  • Employee empowerment and engagement: tactics that facilitate employee engagement and include various levels of participation i.e. blogging, tweeting, monitoring, community engagement, subject matter experts
  • Governance: processes that outline the creation of external social media channels globally, social media guidelines, policies, feedback and crisis management workflows
  • Training Education: Step by step plan that identifies who in the organization needs to be training and outlines the specific training curriculum
  • Technology deployment: identification of internal systems for deployment i.e. collaboration, online monitoring, social CRM

I am excited to announce that my role at Edelman is changing. I was promoted to Senior Vice President, Social Business Planning, where I will be responsible for building out the Social Business Planning discipline along with David Armano, and others in the firm across geographies helping current and future clients make the transformation to not only social brand, but ultimately social business.


Image credit: dansweet

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  • micharm

    business management Thanks for this kind of blog it helps me to have an idea when it comes in planning business.

  • Percy Holl

    Business plan and business life cycle is essential to prepared for all business. In this existing post you compared both social plan and social business.