As the practice of social media continues to grow, companies are striving to evolve their operations and incorporate social media on their journey toward becoming a social business. Just what is a social business you ask? Not the business practices around societal needs, but the business designs that incorporate new models of intreractive communications using social tools, social media and social networks. As employees and customers drive the need for open, transparent, realtime interactions, companies struggle to keep up with the demand.
While companies are still trying to understand the new phenomenon of social media, practitioners of social media are trying to understand business. Many social media practitioners got into the field as it emerged from public relations and corporate communications. While practictioners understand how social tools work and how to become a conversation evangalist, most do not have the ability to connect social media throughout business in a way that executives understand.
Executives make their mark by executing plans against managed risk better than most. Sure there is leadership and specialties in finance, managment, marketing, etc but when you boil it down it is still about getting the job done more efficiently with less risk on the behalf of the shareholder. Then comes social media with the promise to be more connected to customers, be more transparent and have better relationships. Traditional executives cannot even begin to understand how to put their arms around this.
Everyone gets that people’s expectations are changing in the ways they want to communicate, purchase and relate to companies. Businesses understand that it’s here and not going away. There is still a missing translation layer of what companies need to do to meet the changing expectations of customers and employees in a way that is executable and that manages risk. Thus the desire to design the organizational framework to match the changing needs of individuals, or, designing a social business.
Companies today are simply not set up to be a social business. They are still designed the same way they were set up in the 1950′s and 60′s where experts hold-on to specialized information and company messages are funnelled through the marketing communications or executive ranks. Lifting that veil involves a risk tolerance that is simply too high when compared to the benefits. This post is designed to address the risk side of the equation not the benefit side just yet.
In managing risk across the enterprise, you need to have some staples in place like governance (where the accountabilities lie), escalation procedures, training for employees and purpose that maps back to objectives. Your systems need to be proven to scale, you need to provide some consistencies in approach across departments and geographies. Designing a social business is more than simply being conversation evangalists. To help flesh this out further is our host this week Maria Ogneva (aka @theMaria). Maria spends her time evangalising the business benefits of integration and social execution for the leading micro-collaboration platform, Yammer. The discussion this week will cover the following topic and 3 questions:
Topic: Develop Your Social Business
Q1: What does it mean to have a social business?
Q2: List some steps you need to integrate social into existing processes.
Q3: How do you know when you have a Social Business (as defined before)?
Please join us in this online chat on Tuesday, July 19 at noon ET. Follow #sm119 from your favorite Twitter client or simply go to our LIVE page at www.hashtagsocialmedia.com/live. The format will stay the same with the first question starting at noon and a new question coming every 20 minutes at 12:20 and 12:40.