Mon, May 9, 2011
A business leader doesn’t wake up one day and realize that the B2B organization needs to evolve into a social business. He/she is too busy dealing with immediate issues like increasing market share, revenues; dealing with shareholders and attending board meetings. Often times and over the last 16 years or so, this transformation into a social business has happened organically, in silos; and in response to the social customer.
The social customer is not a new concept. Since the beginning of time (at least in my lifetime), consumers have been sharing their thoughts, opinions, joy, fears and criticisms with their friends, family, community groups, even strangers about the products they love and the ones they hate. And, since the birth of the internet and technology innovation, the social customer has been gaining influence every day.
Many companies recognized the social customer very early on. They realized the need, importance and opportunity of having a more human voice to connect with them. Some companies tried it first with forums and message boards. Then they moved the conversation to MySpace and other social networks – and then graduated on to corporate blogs, Facebook and Twitter. Companies that use these channels to address the social customer, their needs and expectations are what I call a social brand. Some do it well and others are still navigating the complexities of the ever changing, dynamic landscape.
The social customer and this rush to become a social brand has caused internal chaos, and in some cases anarchy, for many organizations today. The challenge of social media ownership, scale, governance, employees running wild on the web, technology adoption, organizations models, change management are discussion points that are happening frequently in the enterprise today. These areas of consideration are what make up a social business.
A social business deals with the internal transformation of an organization and addresses key factors such as social organizational models, culture, internal communications, governance, training, employee activation, global and technology expansion, team dynamics and measurement. It essentially involves an organization to humanize its business operations.
The end result of a successful evolution into a social business is better internal collaboration, innovation, the sharing of best practices, torn down silos, a more open and transparent organization and a more effective social brand. I believe that an organization must first get their “internal houses” in order so that any and all external engagements with the social customer are more meaningful, actionable and ultimately more effective.
What are you doing to help evolve your B2B company into a social business?
Michael Brito is currently a Vice President at Edelman Digital. He writes frequently in his social media blog and just finished writing his first social business book, Smart Business, Social Business: A Playbook for Social Media in Your Organization which will be released in July. Follow Michael on Twitter at @britopian.
Tags: social business