Social Is As Social Does

Let’s start the week with a little food for thought.  I came across a great report from the Altimeter Group concerning how businesses evolve around social.  The report makes a distinction between companies implementing a social media strategy and those that are building a social business.  It’s really an eye-opener, especially the finding that just 34% say there are clear metrics used throughout the organization that associate social activities with business outcomes.  Then again, given how too many businesses are always chasing the next shiny object without considering how or if it works for their enterprise, maybe it isn’t.

Here is how they made the distinction between social strategy ad social business:

A social media strategy lays out the channels, platforms, and tactics to support publishing, listening, and engagement. A social business strategy is the integration of social technologies and processes into business values, processes, and practices to build relationships and spark conversations inside and outside the organization, creating value and optimizing impact for customers and the business alike. The most important criteria for a successful social business strategy are twofold: clear alignment with the strategic business goals of an organization AND organizational alignment and support that enables execution of that strategy. However, in a survey conducted by Altimeter of social strategists and executives, only 34% felt that their social strategy was connected to business outcomes.

Yes, I said that last point a second time – I think it’s that important!  It gets to the first of the success factors of a successful social business strategy:

The biggest cause of social strategy failure was the lack of alignment around business objectives. Businesses that uncover the gap between business objectives, social media strategies, and internal challenges and opportunities will open dialogue that both closes the gaps and creates alignment in the process.

The report goes on to list six others:  Having a Long-term vision for becoming a social business, key executive support, having a roadmap in place for all your initiatives along with a timeline, process discipline and ongoing education, staffing properly, and choosing technology only after strategy is set.  Each one of those points would make a fine topic for a longer post but it’s a pretty good checklist from which to work.

I encourage you to read the report a couple of times and let me know what you think.

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