6 Essential Things You Must Know About Social Business

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

A few weeks ago I read about interesting ideas and strategies for social businesses in a report carried out by the team and contributors of Sprinklr: ‘How the Most Social Brands do it‘.

More specifically, Olivier Blanchard (@TheBrand builder) reminded me of some of the ideas we need not only to understand, but to implement and not forget if we really want to build social businesses.

It is important to take a step back every so often and forget about technology to assess what companies really need for Social Business. We know that this isn’t just about tools. It’s about a change in organizational culture.

Olivier spoke about some of the lessons we can learn from organizations that are successful thanks to their social business efforts.

1. ‘Social’ is something you are, not something you do. It’s a question of corporate culture. If a company doesn’t focus on building relationships with its customers as part of its general strategy, the possibilities that it will do it with the new social media are remote. And what’s more, it won’t work. Tools won’t dictate whether a company is social or not; that is something defined by the company’s ‘being’. First, socialize the heart of your organization and base your general strategy on building relationships with your customers in the real world, and then use new social media to cultivate that relationship in the digital world.

2. Marketing on social media channels isn’t being ‘Social’. A blog is just a blog. Publishing content on it doesn’t make you automatically a social business nor will it convert you into an opinion leader magically. Just because you post ideas on a blog, it doesn’t mean you will ‘engage’ with your customers. Learn the difference between marketing and ‘social engagement’ and then combine them effectively.

3. ‘Transparency’ isn’t just a word. If you don’t intend to practise it, don’t preach it or mention it. Transparency isn’t a flag you get to wave around only when it is convenient.

4. Changing your management model is crucial for developing ‘social business’. We’ve already said that ‘social’ is something you are, not what you do; and for that reason most organizations cannot succeed in the social space by changing what they do and not who they are. If you don’t care about your customers, a director of social media or a social media manager won’t be able to transform you company and help you take advantage of the new tools. First you need to become a customer-centric organization. The rest will come later.

5. People are more important than technology. Hire people who care about people. If you hire idiots, your company will be full of idiots. It doesn’t matter what your social network strategy is or how many useful conversation monitoring dashboards you have. Start with your people, not your tools. They are the ones that will make social work or fail.

6. Talk less, listen more. On many occasions, organizations become obsessed with producing content, blog posts, press releases, tweets, events… That’s great, but it’s not the only thing. You should spend the same time listening to that audience you address as you spend producing content for them. Listen to your customers, listen to your employees, listen to your competitors. If you only focus on talking and publishing, you miss the conversation.

With that, you can start to work and practise social business. Success takes work, time, patience, passion, honesty, integrity and, also, a good measure of luck. If anyone else tries to tell you it’s easy, they’re lying to you. At Zyncro we talk about social business Know how?

Ana Asuero (@aasuero) works as Social Media Manager at Zyncro. She is an expert in corporate digital communication, social media and social media marketing. She has previously worked on institutional communication, media planning, advertising campaign strategy and market analysis projects.