It’s becoming clearer every day that businesses are facing major decisions that will not only shake up their status quo but rewrite the old business playbook. As the power shifts to consumers and their growing needs, executives recognize the urgency of adopting a social mindset that applies to technology, people, and strategy to anticipate and deliver value on their customers’ terms.
Becoming a social business is different and expands beyond having a social media strategy. The latter outlines how to engage customers through social media accounts, get Instagram followers or establish a strong online presence. A social business strategy aligns these social media initiatives with business goals and adopts technology to create a social workplace and business model.
Becoming a social business is not an overnight achievement, nor is it a destination. Creating a social business strategy requires changing from the inside out – and with the purpose of adopting an all-encompassing social mindset. Here are some of the factors that contribute to the success of that strategy.
Defined Business Objectives
Becoming a social business is never just about you – it’s about creating value for your customers, employers, partners, and the larger ecosystem. That is why the first step – and most crucial success factor – is your overall mission and how you plan to achieve it.
Create a plan that outlines how you will develop and grow your organization, allocate resources, and execute your projects. As it is a social strategy above all, the plan should incorporate feedback from customers, input from your organization and include future communications and initiatives that will meet those expectations.
If you want to assess – and improve – the social impact of your business, you should pay attention to the right metrics. Instead of focusing on the number of articles you’ve earned in the press, measure the reach and impact of each piece of content you put out there, each link, video, image, or web page. And that’s only the beginning.
Most successful social businesses are using social listening tools to track conversations about their brand among consumers and in their target market. They measure product and brand sentiment, answer questions, and monitor who is saying what about their offering to identify patterns. Unlike the traditional means of measuring ad success, social analytics allows you to make data-backed predictions about customers, competitors, and the future in general.
Investments In Technology
Selecting and investing in the right technologies is crucial to implementing a social business strategy. However, this step should only come after you’ve defined your business objectives and have a grasp on the direction you want to take with consumers and within the industry.
Having your technology investments aligned with your business goals, audience needs, and company vision is what is going to set you apart from competitors who jump on the latest technology bandwagon without a strategic plan in place. Remember that it will ultimately come down to what you can do with the technology – and not what it can do for you. Use your online and digital technologies to create a value-based community for your customers.
In the early days, you may plan and execute within smaller parameters, but if you want to empower and have an impact on the rest of the business, you’ll need the backing and support of the key executives.
Your goal at this stage will be to win both their minds and their corporate checkbooks. What you’re aiming for is more than a sign-off or a short-term approval for a few projects. Invest time in putting the vision together and explaining why and how you want to execute it. By the end of this journey, you should have their buy-ins and unquestionable support.
Governance And Guidelines
When thinking about how you’re going to execute the strategy you’ve developed, you need to consider appropriate guidelines and governance that will ensure your execution meets a certain standard. Here are some of the questions you should find answers to before committing to your social business strategy:
- Who will be responsible for executing different projects like content marketing, technology investment, risk management, integration, and infrastructure development?
- How will you listen and respond to your customers or employees?
- How will you prioritize initiatives and track results?
A social business strategy is not just a marketing strategy or digital roadmap – it stands for integrating social processes and technologies into a company’s culture and business model. Businesses that recognize the opportunity and potential of this change see improved efficiency, superior customer experiences, and increased value for the company as a whole.
Some of the factors that will set you up for success on the journey include defined business objectives, social analytics, investments in technology, executive support, and governance and guidelines.