As a modern company, you are almost certainly already on your way to becoming a social business….whether you realise it or not. 


Your customers already use social media. With regards to your business, they might be using it to find out more about you before making a purchase. Or perhaps they might be using it to complain about your company, and not necessarily directly to you. Many of your staff will use it for their own personal time, but do you know if they are talking about your business? And what are they saying if they are? 


A social business needs to consider all of the areas that it engages with its customers and staff. A social business isn’t a company that just has a Facebook
page and a Twitter account. A social business means that every department, from
customer service to marketing, shop floor staff to senior management embraces social media just as much as it would any other communication channel such as email, telephone or even just plain talking. It’s an organisation that listens to the vibe about it, both internally and externally, and communicates with interested parties in a fluid and coherent way. It is an entirely different way of thinking, from the ground up, to what many might be used to. So it is a strategy that must be lead from the top and absorbed into the very fabric of the organisation. The benefits are huge and far reaching; building better relationships with both customers and staff, increasing exposure and improving communication.

Here are some critical areas to consider as part of your transition into a social business:

  • What objectives do you have for this new strategy to achieve and are they realistic?
  • What resources and budget do you have and will you need for this change of approach?
  • What will each department need to consider and how will their role evolve?
  • Who are the key people that need to be involved and what will their roles be?
  • What training requirements will you need to consider?
  • What listening tools will you put in place and what will you be listening for?
  • What is your customer profile? Who are your buyer personas? What kind of language do they speak? What tone of voice will your company have when speaking to them?
  • What metrics will you use to measure successes, failures and ROI?
  • How will your social media policy develop and what new boundaries will you need to establish?
  • What new processes will you need to create to listen, execute, implement, maintain and integrate social media into your business at all levels from CEO to new starters
To better help us understand how this process will manifest itself in real terms, we have broken down the strategy into departmental areas and the kind of
activities they will each need to participate in.
 
Marketing
 
The
traditional home of social media. Beginning several years ago, it was the norm
for a company to have a Facebook page. On this page, all that was necessary was
to put up the occasional post about the park and what was happening. Social
media was in its infancy and traditional marketing was still the primary form
of advertising.
 
But
a lot has changed in a relatively short space of time. The public have become
immune to traditional advertising. Ask yourself this question: What was the
last advert I remember seeing? It’s unlikely you can remember, but it’s
probably the meerkat advert for car insurance. Actually, that’s a great example
of where things have moved to. For a company to be noticed these days, they
need to stop interrupting the entertainment with their adverts, and start being the entertainment. That is
essentially what content marketing is all about. The best recent examples of
this are Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Volvo Truck Split video, Compare The Meerkat
adverts and GoPro’s viral video campaigns, which have seen hundreds of millions
of views.
 
Your
social media and content marketing strategies therefore should encapsulate how you can
curate the amazing content that happens at your business. It builds
the framework that enables you to capture as many interesting photos, videos and
information as possible, and to then share that with the rest of the world in
the most powerful format possible.
  
Customer
Service
 
Increasingly
now, the public expect to be able to contact a brand via their social media
channels. For many, it is the easiest route for them to do so and the one they
are now more likely to use. There are several reasons for this:

  • They are already there and are already
    using social media channels for communicating with their friends
  • They are looking at your brand on social
    media for information about it
  • It is a quick way to communicate with a
    brand instead of waiting on the phone or writing a lengthy email
As a social
business, we need to change our practices swiftly to embrace this new method of
communicating with our customers. They expect an informed reply quickly, just
like any other medium such as the telephone or email.
 
You would not ignore a phone call or email from them, so you cannot ignore a tweet or a
Facebook post either.
 
The sheer
volume of contacts via social media channels means that the process of passing
on the message via the marketing team will no longer work. Each department
involved with customer service now needs to be actively involved in using
social media to offer customer service too.
 
This is
possible via the tools we have on our social media channels. Facebook allows
multiple administrators on the page with various admin rights. And applications
such as GroupTweet allow multiple people to access a Twitter account without
compromising the password integrity.
 
Staff
 
Your staff form a very important part of your social media and content marketing
strategies. They are key to capturing the best content, and also often your resident
experts to answer the many questions of your customers on your social channels.
 
Just as
with our customer service team, the increasing volume of messages will mean
that the staff will need to play a direct and active role in your
strategy. Fortunately, many of your team are probably already keen to do this in a variety
of ways.

  • Blogging – Running a blog for each department of your business telling their story of what’s happening
  • Responding directly to questions and
    queries on your social channels
  • Capturing photos and videos of interesting
    things happening in the business
The
staff are key to creating engaging content that will drive the strategy
forward.
 
Senior
Management
 
Too
many brands and organisations rely on the office intern (who’s quite good at
Facebook) to be in charge of their social media and content marketing. But that
often means that the voice of the company that is heard the most, is actually
from the lowest grade person. A mature social business is lead from the top. It
is the voice and expertise of the CEO that should be the voice that is heard
first and foremost. But this is only possible if the senior management embrace
social media as much as the rest of the company is expected to do so.
 
The
senior management team should all be blogging about relevant issues. They
should be thought leaders in their field. They should be driving the business
forward in the public eye.

 

However, over-involvement is also a danger. In most cases, it is better for the
respective departments to handle the queries relevant to them. It would not be
appropriate for the senior management to undermine the people lower down in the
organisation.



Conclusion

This article should give you a broad idea of the way you should be thinking about your business, as many of your customers and workers already are. Whilst these concepts may be scary for some, provided your company provides a good product or service, you have nothing to fear.

If you need help in changing your business into a social business, contact me via [email protected].