Statistic: 94% of business leaders are looking to include social media as part of their growth strategy and 61% consider it a high priority.
Even without the statistics, the talk undeniably continues to revolve around the social enterprise and how the social web is changing the way we collaborate, communicate and interact with customers across the organization. So why, in most organizations today, does social media reside in marketing?
Sure, the social web offers marketing teams new and awesome tools for brand awareness. It creates a lot of ‘activity,’ which is always good. And then there’s all the talk about how ‘social’ can be more effectively used for sales enablement, lead generation, improvement of metrics, etc.
Don’t Silo Social Media in Marketing
But, if we keep looking at social media only in the context of marketing, we lose tapping into its greater potential. “Social media enables: the ability to collaborate in new ways — which is particularly important for business leaders interested in creating more collaborative, innovative, and engaging organizations.” - HBR Blog Network
Social sharing is contagious. It has spurred and sped knowledge transfer and ‘ideation.’ Looked at in this perspective, why wouldn’t you want that environment to exist throughout your entire organization? But, how do you make your entire company social? How do you get everyone to engage? Often, an effective use of social media within an organization requires executive management support, an owner, and ambassadors.
- Executive management support - if getting social across an organization isn’t supported by the top, then there’s little chance of transforming into a social enterprise.
- Owner - someone should be responsible for creating a social media policy or guide for personal communication by employees.
- Ambassadors - to get the ball rolling themselves and encourage widespread adoption.
Let’s look at the company that has successfully made this transition: Zappos. At Zappos, social technologies are not just used for selling or for customer support. ‘Social’ is ingrained throughout all their practices and processes. They personally connect internally and externally, between and amongst customers and employees using many of these technologies. Beyond being early adopters of Twitter, their success at ‘becoming social’ ensues from their company culture. An off-shoot of Zappos success, Hsieh’s book and movement ”Delivering Happiness” provides a fascinating example of this belief.
The best way to grasp how social is a ‘mindset’ at Zappos, listen to CEO Tony Hsieh talk about the culture of his company in which he touches briefly on how social technologies are used to foster dialogue, share ideas and build transparency. Hsieh represents how executive leadership and vision is critical for company-wide adoption. But, the Zappos example also lends itself to the importance of company culture in becoming a social enterprise.
Why should you make social media a part of your core vision?
- In a social enterprise, companies can ‘mine’ the knowledge of its employees, clients, and customers to create greater value. And, in turn, as our Zappos example shows, you’re creating a happy workforce with a higher purpose – propagating further innovation and collaboration. There’s a snowball effect that will lead to greater impact on your overall business.
- Social can benefit every department. Besides marketing and PR, customer service is another department that has been swept up in the social enterprise wave. Capitalize on this. CRM tools like Salesforce have integrated key social networks so that customer service cases can be created based off interactions on the social web.
- Avoid the social disasters that result when social is siloed within your organization. The Quantas social disaster is a perfect example of a marketing team (responsible for social) that was out of touch with what the company was doing, and what it was going to take from a PR perspective to get past the original obstacle (the grounding of the Quantas fleet).
This isn’t meant to undermine social media marketing. Be proud of the results in that arena. But, as a C-level, recognize that being ‘social’ means much more. When you’re using social technologies to produce innovation and business impact based on customers’ and employees’ collaboration, that’s a good clue that you’re on your way to a social enterprise.
Originally posted here.