Social as a Strategy: Seven Best-Practices to Transform your Business into a Social Enterprise*

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The social revolution has grown from scratch to become a transformative communication and collaboration phenomenon. From the Arab Spring to the global Occupy movement, social networks have been used to rally enormous crowds, create mammoth followings, and even topple political establishments. Today, one in every five minutes online is spent on Facebook; 250 million tweets […]

The social revolution has grown from scratch to become a transformative communication and collaboration phenomenon. From the Arab Spring to the global Occupy movement, social networks have been used to rally enormous crowds, create mammoth followings, and even topple political establishments. Today, one in every five minutes online is spent on Facebook; 250 million tweets go out every day; and almost overnight, brands have moved from one-to-one customer conversations to one-to-1 million.

Social trends are significantly altering the business and competitive landscape. The social web has emerged as a valuable business tool for the modern enterprise. Touting rich applications with real-time interaction and user-generated content, social media has materialized into a key tool to build customer intimacy and promote employee collaboration.

We decided to delve into this phenomenon to understand the dynamics that market leaders have embraced to successfully transform themselves into enterprises that are social-at-the-core. We found that the best-in-class adopted select uniform practices with multiple permutations and combinations which are quintessential for successful social transformation. Micro analying these efforts, we’ve identified seven best practices to transform your business into a Social Enterprise:

  1. Secure executive sponsorship and management commitment towards ‘going social’ – Assemble an enterprise level organization for social business.
  2. Ensure ‘social’ is part of the overall business strategy – Develop and integrate external and internal social business processes.
  3. Engage in active community building and management – Deploy processes and technologies to shift from reactive to proactive social engagement.
  4. Design innovative business and functional models that leverage the social network across the value chain – Employ social networking across all functions, not just sales and service.
  5. Utilize integrated IT platforms to have technology act as an enabler and driver for business – A perfect blend of social and related technologies, including analytics and mobility, can provide substantial competitive advantage
  6. Empower employees to shift from sales, service, and silo’d functions to customer ownership experience  – Ensure a holistic approach to Social CRM. Culture, too plays an important role.
  7. Turn social insight into action – Listen, Analyze and Engage. Harness social insights for competitive advantage.

As Erik Qualman puts it, “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.”

This post is the first in a series on Social as a Strategy that Rick Mans and I have been working on. As we publish new posts, we’ll add links to them at the bottom of this page.

In the meanwhile, we’d be keen to hear your ideas and builds on the seven best-practices. Any initial thoughts?

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* Note: The term ‘social enterprise’ is used here to describe companies that harnesses the power of the social web – making it an integral part of their business model.

 

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