Creating a Social Business
Think about the business you are a part of for a second. Most likely you have Facebook, Google+, Twitter accounts that are run by the intern fresh out of college or by yourself....and .....you send out a tweet here and there but no one really interacts with your brand. Maybe you have also admired those other companies in your industry that have a fast growing social following, two way communications and rather large internal communities surrounding parts of their social business. What if your company's own internal culture was one that embraced the social concept and morphed into a Self-Producing Content Marketing machine? While the internal and external aspects of a "Social Business" are starting to blur, for the most part they're predominantly separate still. Also, most companies really have no strategy in place to either manage the Social Media they currently have in place or to create a fully integrated Social Business. This post is to shed some light on ways to start the process using tools and concepts that are available today!
Collaboration across every department is ideal when creating a Social Business. Human Resources, IT, PR, Sales, Marketing and Customer Service are all integral parts to your business therefore they need to be involved with Social Media internally and externally. Your overall Social Media Objectives may be different depending on the type or size of business you are but you should remember that each department has expertise. That expertise should be utilized and never undervalued when interacting with your current or potential client base as well as when creating the awesome content that's a part of your content strategy. Each department should also "know their role" in the strategy so no feet get stepped on and a similar tone voice is heard across all channels. The internal workings of a Social Business must also have a culture to where the free exchange of ideas is valued and encouraged. Having whiteboards or Chatter is one thing, but being able to socially, visually and publicly contribute to the whole is what drives innovation, better decisions and morale. One of my favorite examples of this is The Indium Corporation. They have involved almost all of the Executives, Sales Reps and other sectors of their business to submit blog posts, video and other content which ultimately drives traffic and leads. (who would of thought Semiconductors could be so entertaining!?)
Build a Community
Start thinking about the areas of your business that are the most popular or where you would like to have more attention. Now think about the pains of the potential customers that would potentially fall into that area of business. Two companies come to mind that are using this concept fully. Proctor and Gamble does a great job with targeting the teen girl crowd by creating a whole online community, BeingGirl.com, surrounding some problems that teen girls face (none of which I will ever understand completely). The girls that fall into this specific age bracket can talk about things that are huge in their life right now like Love, Beauty and Style. All of which just so happens to be sharable and P and G's products are brilliantly intertwined without turning you off by feeling like you are being sold to. Another is the Spiceworks Community. This community of over 1.8 million IT professionals across the world offers numerous types of solutions to help make the life of an IT guy/girl better. Everything offered by Spiceworks is free because of their strategic Ad Model that allows people to market to this huge group of niche professionals. Thats great but what do I next? Get with your web design department, Social Manager and Marketing guy internally or visit sites like yourmembership.com or Ning.com to get some ideas on where to start.
Social Media Strategist
Employee involvement, content strategies, cross-department implementation and interaction with current and potential customers all sound great but where do you find the time? Who brings all of this together? The Social Media Strategist does. It is a must now in 2012 to hire a full-time Social Media Manager that both encourages employee activity, keeps the conversation on track and monitors the landscape in order to achieve the Social goals that were set beforehand. The biggest mistake I see many social business efforts make is greatly under-resourcing or hiring the wrong person early on. Social events and orchestration at this level is not something that should be part time for everyone. There should be one central person that works in conjunction with the VP of Marketing to handle this type of undertaking. This person should have experience in management, sales, customer service, business, cross-channels and an entrepreneurial attitude in order to fully maximize the companies Social potential.
What are some other ways that you've seen businesses become more social?
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