Six Steps To Becoming A Social Media Business
In the era of digital almost every company can be found on social media. These companies also want to eventually claim that they are a social business and that they are good at it and want to avoid the 6 common mistakes companies often make. But what does it mean to be a social business?
I took a deep dive into the research that the Altimeter group published about becoming a social business which included “social business maturity steps”. What you need to know is that there are 6 steps to become a social media business, and all these steps contain key activities your company needs to complete before you can claim to be a social media business. Do you want to take on the challenge of becoming the strategist or executive sponsor of the world’s first totally converged social media business? Here in this blog post I name the six key steps your company absolutely needs to complete along this journey path.
Establish An Executive Sponsor
The goal of the executive sponsor is to bring order and alignment throughout the organization, but also helping to decide which social platforms stay and which ones go.
There are three ways to establish this sponsor:
- Empower an internal strategist
- Empower an internal social media champion who earns the support of an executive sponsor
- Commission an outside agency/consultancy that will advocate the need to create a social business approach
Establish Organization-wide Governance
This is basically about “who owns social media?” So who is THE boss in your organization when it comes to social media? To find out who this person is ask yourself the following questions:
- Who gets to make the decisions?
- Who carries out the execution based on the context of each situation?
- Who gets stuck with the social media bill and how it is divided up
- Who are the people always kept in the loop?
Not only figuring out “who owns social media?” in your company is key to completing this part of the journey but also setting out policies and processes that your organization will follow. For most companies these are contained within playbooks, policies and guidelines explaining what each channel is and how the company uses those channels.
Reinforce A Corporate Social Media Policy That Allows Employees To Participate Professionally
This policy must outline acceptable employee behavior on social channels, safeguarding the company against legal risks when employees represent the brand on social media. It doesn’t only have the purpose of protecting the employees and the brand but also encouraging employee ownership.
There are companies that encourage their employees to be on social media professionally. They can represent the brand with their opinions and their own voices. The best way to do this is not only by a written policy but also by giving training to new employees or employees new to social media.
Ongoing Education And Best Practice Sharing
Social media develops quickly with something new almost every day. Every morning I wake-up there is a new app or a new social platform out there, and some of these take-off and become the next big thing. Not every single employee in your company that is in contact with social media has the ability or the time to monitor everything that happens in social media. That is why you need to keep on training your employees, to keep them up-to-date, to share best practices. By doing this you won’t miss when the next big thing comes along. Best to arrange regular meetings to talk about what’s happening in the social media world once a month, so updates can be given on what’s happening on your current channels but also to share best practice and to share what is new.
Garnering Executive Management And Maximize Value With Engaging Executives
An advocate somewhere at the top of the company is necessary and I’ve already mentioned this but now this top executive needs to be engaged, and maybe located in the C-suite. This person should get a role in social media that is much more hands-on. Social media business relevant activity should now spread throughout the company to all different departments. You need to have people engaged with social media in every part of your business. This means not only engaging in the marketing and communications arena but also IT, Sales, Finance, HR, and the Supply Chain.
It’s always hard to get approval or to champion an executive to convince them about your social media business strategy so you need to prove its worth with focused pilots. Bring to the table results from campaigns/pilots that prove that social media can contribute to the goals that the company has set and defined as business critical.
Single Business Strategy Process
To become a fully converged social media business you need to make sure that your social media goals are the same as your business goals. Social media is not something special anymore, it’s a way to help achieve your business relevant goals. One strategy for your entire company in which social media is integrated.
These are six steps that you need to fulfill to become a social media business but there is more to it. I’ve read the research Altimeter published and I found that these six steps are the most important and most valuable ones, but it doesn’t end there. If you really want to know how far your company has developed towards becoming a social media business you should read the research and asses what stage you are in. Assessing the current stage you are in will also help you to see what needs to be tackled to fully converge into a social media business.
Note that there is not a single business in the entire world that can call themselves a 100% aligned social media business. Many are well on their way but just not there yet but be careful not to over promise or you could end up in social media jail.
Who knows? Maybe your company might be the first to be fully converged into a social media business. Good luck!
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Passion flows through my veins for digital communications, and that's what I aspire to do in life. Enrich the world with exciting content that tells the stories of people doing their thing while doing their job.