How to Build a Social Business

The difference between a traditional marketing approach vs. a holistic marketing approach can be compared to the difference between having a social marketing strategy vs. a social business strategy. Traditional marketing focuses on tactics, whereas holistic marketing focuses on the whole picture. Similarly, a social marketing strategy focuses on sharing marketing content through social media, while a social business strategy utilizes social media for a variety of functions other than just marketing, whether it be for customer digital customer service initiatives, business intelligence, digital market research, consumer insights management, or online reputation management.

In short, a social business strategy leverages social media to enhance interaction with customers at a variety of touch points, while a social marketing strategy is simply the traditional marketing function adapted and applied to social media channels. While having a social marketing strategy is perfectly ok, it’s important to recognize that having a social marketing strategy alone may no longer be enough for businesses that want to capitalize on everything social media has to offer.

From a recent article entitled “Social Business vs. Social Marketing: Understanding the fight over ‘content‘,” Olivier Blanchard states:

Sometimes, the best marketing isn’t marketing at all. It grows out of the personal connections that happen between the impression and the purchase, the thousand little personal interactions that happen between the purchase and the coffee shop, and the bonds consumers form with human beings around them … thus, having your marketing department push content all day long via Facebook pages and Twitter accounts and Youtube channels basically amounts to executing a simple social media marketing strategy. It doesn’t build anything. It doesn’t stick either. It’s just marketing spent at a lower cost and with a higher content velocity. Not bad, but that won’t get you very far in the social space.

Below is a video interview with Blanchard from the 2010 Like Minds Conference discussing the evolution of social media’s role within a business, which also further clarifies some of the concepts discussed in the above-referenced article:

Because building a social business strategy for your company is an ideal long-term investment, here are eight steps you can take to help get the process started:

  1. Create a cross-functional task force to research, organize, and guide the transition
  2. Complete an organizational SWOT analysis outlining the benefits/drawbacks of social media as they relate to your company
  3. Determine the primary goals for a social business strategy
  4. Identify key assets within the organization, i.e. strong writers or tech savvy individuals
  5. Catalog all social media activity currently taking place within the organization to understand what can be leveraged
  6. Research social media management solutions (i.e. monitoring, measurement, and management tools) that compliment your objectives
  7. Sketch out the details for what hurdles need to be addressed before such a plan can be realistically implemented
  8. Create a 30, 60 and 90 day action plan

Always keep in mind that the overarching goal of a social business strategy should be to communicate and engage for the purpose of stimulating interest and participation, which results in the capture of collective information that can then be then used to benefit a company’s strategic objectives.

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