Web 2.0, and the revolutionary technology that has resulted has changed the nature of how many businesses today communicate and interact with their customers. Web 2.0, and now 3.0 enables businesses to move past simply observing and analysing their target markets, to actively connecting, engaging, gaining intimidate insights into their customers.
Learning how to utilise these tools and advances to meet organisational objectives is hugely important for staying competitive in todays competitive business environment.
Social media strategy vs. social business strategy
Social media strategy, is defined as channels, platforms and tactics used to support publishing, listening, and engagement (Li & Soli, 2013). In todays highly competitive, and fast-paced business enviroment, companies are under great pressure to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies. This has resulted in societal pressure on businesses to utilise a number of social medias to communicate to consumers. Utilising these various medias in an appropriate way is challenging for many businesses. This has resulted in the need for social media strategies.
In order to effectively communicate on a number of social media platforms appropriate, businesses must understand and plan how to utilise their varying scopes and functionalities. When using social media for business, Larry Webber said companies should ensure they have a clear and strategic process that is “linear and iterative”, with the following stages:
- Setting strategic goals for social engagement
- Designing programs for engagement
- Activating and sustaining programs
- Measuring and analysing programs effectiveness
Webber goes on to discuss the fundamental goals for social media should not be on self-serving ideas, but…
Rather, the goals are to foster collaboration, to share knowledge across functions, and to reduce enterprise’ processing and reacting times to enhance community engagement and strategy formulation and execution
Social business strategy takes this concept one step further by integrating social media technologies and processes into the businesses core values and practices. Through these processes, businesses can effectively build online relationships with their customers and spark conversations both inside and outside the organisation (Li & Solis, 2013). From my perspective, social business strategy takes a more holistic approach, aiming to build a social core to a business that filters through its entire approach to how it conducts business.
Li and Solis established a model that defines the social ‘maturity’ of a business, the paired named this “The six stages of Social Business Transformation”
This six-stage process, and where a business is at on this process will define the maturity of a businesses social business strategy.
- Planning: prepare themselves to listen and learn from their customers
- Presence: establish themselves within chosen social channels
- Engagement: engage with customers to form strong internal and external relationships
- Formalised: organise their communications so that they have a coherent voice across platforms
- Strategic: integrating social technologies into their everyday practices and processes
- Converged: consider their business a social entity, and act accordingly
7 Markers of a Successful Social Business
- Defined business goals
- Long term vision
- Executive Support
- Strategic Roadmap
- Governance and guidelines
- Staff, resources and funding
- Evolving technology
Chapter 3, Weber, L. (2011). Building enterprise-wide engagement capability in Everywhere: Comprehensive digital business strategy for the social media era (pp. 59-86). Hoboken, NJ, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Li, C. & Solis, B. (2013). The evolution of social business: Six stages of social business transformation. Altimeter Group.