Enable Social Business. Banning the BS in Social Media Part 6

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This is Part 6 of a 10 part series exploring how to Ban the BS from Social Media.

The series looks at the key elements of successfully implementing a Social Media and Social Business Strategy.  Each Part is derived from our 10 Commandments for Banning the BS from Social Media.

PART 6. Enable Social Business

There are five big reasons Social Media or Social Business programs fail: 1. Lack of Support from Leadership 2. A poorly defined Strategy resulting in Random Acts of Social Media. 3. Lack of Resourcing both in Time & Dollars. 4. Poorly handled Change Management Process. 5. Lack of Scalability in your initiatives.  If you don’t address these risks, at best the outcome of your efforts will be a Social Media help desk not capable of adding any value to your business.  You may as well shut the program down. Being aware of these risks and addressing them will give you a much greater chance of success.

BACKGROUND

Starting a Social Media or Social Business program is just like deciding if you’re going to get a dog or not. Remember when you were a kid and wanted a dog.  Your wise parents said “If we get a dog you have to look after it, feed it, walk it, play with it, clean up after it … including the pooper scoop or land mine control as it was referred to in our household.”

1. Lack of Support from Leadership

You must have Support from Leadership, from the top down. Real demonstrated support.  You need to build Social Business into your culture and your performance management. If you’re a Leader of your organization, leading up or down, check out Charlene Li’s Book Open Leadership, it provides great insight into how Social Business and Open Leadership can benefit your business and how you can support  a Social Business Strategy.

2. A Poorly Defined Strategy

I’ve already covered the importance of having a Strategy in place for you to succeed in Enabling Social Business. Check out Part 1: Strategy, Why? comes before Technology, How? if you want a refresher.

3. Lack of Resourcing

In addition to having a Strategy, you have to resource your program.  It’s not free and if you don’t want to pay STOP NOW, because you will undoubtedly get what you paid for.  One of the most common comments I hear from people new to Social Media is, “It’s Free”.  Well, I can assure, it ain’t.  You might be able to register on FaceBook, Twitter or YouTube for free, nix, nadda, but that takes some one time and effort to do. Then it takes some one time to create and load content, engage with your people, respond to their comments and build your community. Their time costs money.  Which takes us back to putting Strategy before Technology.  For many businesses labour can be one of, if not the biggest cost. You’ve got to understand what your spending those dollars on. If you going to invest in Social Media you need to understand what’s required, what it costs and be prepared to put the cash and time on the table.

4. Managing the Change Well

Change management is never easy, but transitioning to being Social has so much potential benefit for your business that the effort is worth it.  You’ve got to recognize that adopting Social Business practices is a major change for any business.  It’s not simply upgrading your software and doing a bit of training. It requires a shift in mindset to being more open and taking the time to develop meaningful relationships with your various stakeholders so that you can get more from a reciprocal relationship.

The Dachis Groups’ Infographic (Left) “Attributes of a Socially Optimised Business has some great insights into the traits required for a business to really BE Social. The Social Business Transformation Diagram (Right) comes from a great blog posted by Dion Hinchcliffe on Social Business Strategy and includes some valuable insights.

 

5. Scalable Initiatives

With any Social Business programs it makes sense to start small and build up.  Adoption is definitely supported by an ability to keep momentum up and scale your program to stay ahead of the demand.  Inability to scale can significantly reduce adoption and stall your program.  Consider this carefully when implementing your strategy and choosing tools for the job.  Highly scalable Software as a Service (SaaS) can be a great option.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?

Yoda and Mr Miyaga have got this one sorted. Check out the videos below and read on.

At the end of the day, there is a choice to make, in the immortal words of Yoda: “Do or Do Not, there is no try!”  The biggest challenges for any Social Business initiative, is the significant cultural change, often required, at the organisational level, to truly have an impact.  This is a long term change requiring genuine commitment. Without the commitment of time, effort and resources, the people driving the program, your, highly paid, Corporate Social Strategist, will be relegated to performing the function of a Social Media help desk.

If you want to succeed, then, Commit as Leaders, Commit to a menaingful Strategy, Commit the Resources Required, Commit to a major Culture Shift and Commit to making your program Scalable.

Top Tips:

  1. Commit: Do, or Do Not, there is not Try.
  2. Allocate sufficient Resource to give it a fair go.
  3. Demonstrate Open Leadership from the top Down.
  4. The Change will be significant for most business … be prepared to work hard at it.
  5. Make sure your program is Scalable.

Next up:

Part 7: Say NO to BS and YES to Authenticity.

Precious posts in this series:

Part 1: Strategy, Why? comes before Technology, How?

Part 2: Take a Systems Approach.

Part 3: Make sure the Boundaries are Clear.

Part 4: Be Scientific.

Part 5: Be Agile.

What are you doing to Enable Social Business?

As always we’d love to hear: What you think? Any questions you have? So, leave a comment and follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our blog or RSS feed to stay up to date with this Series on Banning the BS from Social Media and other blog posts.  Stay tuned for more on how you can Enable Social Business.

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