One of the most successful approaches to becoming a social business is the creation of an internal team, led by a Senior Executive (preferably CxO), who can guide and help the corporate adoption of Social Media within the organization to aid formulate a foundation of the achievement of its business objectives through the use of Social.
It is absolutely crucial to understand the position of Social Media within the organisation, and the impact it has on the various business functions. As Social Media is a communication tool, its uses vary and affect pretty much everyone in the organisation, and if done correctly outside the organization too, through:
PR/Corporate Communications; Marketing; Internal Communications; Legal; IT; Sales; Customer Service; Human Resources; Product Management/ Development; Innovation; Collaboration
When setting up the internal team and leader, it is paramount to have a leader with a broad understanding of the various business functions and units, their focus and business objectives. Then, representatives from these business areas should form the Social Business Council, in order to facilitate the implementation of the social business strategy.
There should be two approaches within that council:
1) Does what we are doing change the way the organisation Communicates, Socializes, Learns, Collaborates, Teams (internally & externally) and/or Innovates through the Enterprise use of Social Media?
2) Does the use of Social technologies aid the achievement of the corporate business objectives?
In every congregation of people, including business entities, there are the early adopters, supporting new initiatives, and the detractors (or more conservative people). When setting up a Social Business Council, I would recommend ensuring a culture of belonging (virtually and physically). The early adopters should evangelize the new programs, but you’d rather let the detractors have their say within the confined space of the council, than fight and convince senior level executives, to execute plans they don’t believe in.
The shortest route to any strategy disaster is to let the Chiefs create it, and then dump it on the Indians for implementation. By including the “Indians” in the conversations, and really listen to their recommendations, you can almost guarantee choosing the most appropriate social initiatives, from the people who will end up using them.
Finally, the Social Business Council should articulate Social Media successes, on the various fronts. They might not be the ones calculating Social Media ROI, as there might not be a direct financial ROI to the use of Social Media. The ROI is in how it assists the [more] efficient achievement of corporate objectives.
It isn’t difficult to articulate how direct connections formed on a social network lead to a large contract. Or how HR decreased recruitment-advertising costs by using a LinkedIn tool to source passive candidates. It’s also quite easy to monitor sentiment of brand conversations, and determine and show improvement levels of customer satisfaction, if these KPI’s are put in place at the beginning.
In the past few years, we’ve seen a lot of confusion within organisations , not sure who “owns” Social Media. The fact is, that as an enablement tool, it’s not a matter of “ownership”, but it is rather a cross-functional way of working, which impacts the organisation at every level. Having a competent leader, with a strong, cross-departmental supporting team, will determine the speed and quality of social media integration within the business.
Now the catch! All of the above must be seen as a project as once Social Media principals are permeated throughout the organisation the role of a social business council will be reduced and will form business as usual. No one teaches you [any more] how to use the phone, write an email, or use Facebook. Social Media will permeate life as we know it in corporations and become business as usual!
Agree? Disagree? put it in writing in the comments below.