We are still seeing many organisations, large and small, who do not understand the difference between a ‘social media strategy’ and a social business strategy.

We believe that a social media strategy is fools gold. Organisations who profess to have a social media strategy or who have an agency working to create a social media strategy are missing the point entirely.

These organisations almost always have difficulty in:

  • Convincing the executive why integration of social networks is important – i.e. not able to garner C-level support;
  • Getting beyond low-level metrics like fans, followers, friends, connections, tweets, retweets etc. which are soft metrics which have a place but are not the core of an effective Social Business strategy;
  • Explaining the ROI associated with their social media initiatives;
  • Getting beyond words such as listen, engage (ment) or participation in social networks;
  • Extending the use of social capabilities beyond marketing – they don’t see how to use social networks and constructs to enhance all business processes nor how to distribute social across the enterprise.

The problem, in short, with a social media strategy is that it becomes an end in itself and is seen as yet another silo in already fragmented organisations.

As Jay Baer recently pointed out the objective is not to get better at social media and social networks; the objective is to get better at business by incorporating social media into your business strategy. Or, as Olivier Blanchard puts it ‘Your business doesn’t plug into social media, you plug social media into your business’.

And for mine, that is what a Social Business strategy does – it takes your business goals or objectives and enhances the strategies for achieving those goals with the incorporation of social strategies and then tactics. A very different result and approach.

Organisations that take this approach:

  1. Have executive support to incorporate social media into the mix of tactics, spend and programs across the board. The Executive never questions the value of social media activity at the workplace;
  2. Focuses on metrics beyond friends, fans followers etc and has targets associated with the business goals. So if the goal is to increase revenue, and one of the targets is to acquire new customers then one of the measures might be “Net New Customers” acquired through Facebook with associated targets;
  3. Can always show the ROI of a program (think tactic) and doesn’t get bogged down in a meaningless debate on the ROI of social media and social networks;
  4. Gets way beyond the buzzwords to focus on the outcomes. For example, ‘engagement’ is not an end unto itself. Having engagement that cannot be tied to a business outcome like increase in revenue, net new customers, more frequent orders, large average order sizes and so on is fairly meaningless;
  5. See social media as adding value way beyond marketing to customer service and support; product innovation, talent acquisition, employee satisfaction and more.

We believe that a Social Business Strategy beats a Social Media Strategy everyday. 

What about you?

Please comment below.



Related: Enterprise Social Networks – 5 Roads to Failure.