The Seven Success Factors of Social Business Strategy


Almost every organisation today is looking to develop some form of social media activity, but there’s a significant difference between those companies simply implementing a social media strategy and those looking to build a social business.

In their really useful new e-book “The Seven Success Factors of Social Business Strategy“ Charlene Li and Brian Solis of Altimeter Group, use a mix of research, real-life anecdotes, advice and helpful exercises to guide readers through the process of aligning social media strategies with business objectives to deliver valuable and meaningful results for their organisations.

The book explains that whilst a social media strategy focuses on the channels, platforms, and tactics required to support publishing, listening, and engagement, a  social business strategy aims to integrate social media and social methodologies into an organisation in order to deliver wider business impacts.

To achieve these wider impacts a successful social business strategy requires two important criteria

  1. social media initiatives clearly aligned with the strategic business goals of the organisation,
  2. sufficient investment in the organisational alignment and support to enable execution of that strategy.

However, a survey Altimeter conducted with social strategists and executives suggests that as companies grow their social media efforts, the necessary strategic focus, with clear goals, is often falling by the wayside.

  • only 34% felt that their social strategy was connected to business outcomes,
  • only 28%  felt that they had a holistic approach to social media with lines of business and business functions working together around common goals.
  • just 12% were confident they had a plan that looked beyond the next year.
  • only 50% of companies said that top executives were “informed, engaged and aligned with their companies’ social strategy.”

To overcome these issues Charlene and Brian have identified the key elements of effective social media planning…

The Seven Success Factors of Social Business:

1.  Define the overall business goals. You can’t align your social strategy with your business objectives if you don’t even know what your objectives are.

2. Establish the long-term vision. If you’re not striving toward the end goal, you’re likely to veer off the path. If you want your team to fully invest in your social strategy — and you need the support of your entire team– you’ll need to communicate your vision with clarity and passion.

3. Ensure executive support. In the early days you may be able to fly under the radar, but at some point, if you want to truly have an impact on the business, you’ll need the backing and support of key executives.

4. Define the strategy roadmap. You already know your business objectives and have a clear vision. But how are you going to get there? Plan out your route, what roads you’ll travel, and what roads you’ll avoid.

5. Establish governance and guidelines. Who is responsible for executing the social strategy? What’s your process of listening and responding to your customers? If you clearly define this process and then stick to it, you’ll spend less tie floating along throughout the social sphere and more time strategizing your social growth.

6. Secure staff, resources, and funding. In the early stages of social growth, you might outsource your social media campaign to an agency, and that’s fine. But you should also be looking down the road and planning to develop internal resources to take your company to the next level as your social prowess — and your business — grows.

7. Invest in technology platforms that evolve. Resist the temptation to jump on the latest technology bandwagon before you have a long-term strategic plan in place. Hold off on making significant technology investments until you’re equipped with a sound vision and strategic plan.


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