Regardless of how you define social business; it’s hard to argue that organizations today must change if they want to stay relevant and competitive. I have seen business change and lived through many of its ups and downs for many years. My first book, Smart Business, Social Business was my eyewitness account of living through this organizational change while working for large brands in Silicon Valley. In the book, I plead the case that all business, large and small, must evolve into a social business just for the sake of being a social business.
That’s where I got it wrong. I didn’t continue the story.
Companies that want to become a social business for the sake of “becoming a social business” doesn’t make sense. Enterprise collaboration for the sake of enterprise collaboration is silly. Deploying internal communities using software platforms like IBM or Jive just because your competitors are doing so is a complete waste a time, money and resources.
There must be positive business outcomes.
There needs to be reason “why”.
There has to be a strategic initiative as to why you want to change your business.
Even before the book, I talked about the need for companies to start thinking about socializing their business. But the question I often get is “why?” Why is it important for my business to deploy internal communities, tear down silos, coordinate go-to-market plans or get my butt out of my cubicle and have a conversation with my colleagues down the hall? These are all good questions. Becoming a social business without a vision for where it’s going to take you is like investing thousands of dollars building your first home from the ground up and never moving in to live in it and enjoy it. It’s a waste of time otherwise.
I look at social business strategy as an enabler. Let me explain.
I am a marketing guy by trade so many of the challenges I help my clients with are the ones that help them improve the way they communicate externally and internally. Sometimes it’s about operationalizing their content marketing strategy. Other times, it’s about building processes and workflows that can help scale social media globally. And many times, it’s fixing disjointed content and community management practices.
In other words, in order to fix many of these challenges, you need a social business strategy that can stand the test of time and change organizational behaviors. Doing so, will enable better content, smarter marketing, integrated communities and more effective customer relationships. And that’s exactly what my next book is all about – enablement. It’s about tackling a real-world marketing problem (and opportunity) and using a social business strategy to capitalize on it.
So what is this real-world business problem?
It’s actually pretty simple. Your brand needs to start thinking, acting and operating like a media company. And the reason why is right in plain sight. There is a content surplus in the marketplace today and consumers have an attention deficit. In order for you to reach consumers with your value message, you need to manufacture an environment where you are creating, curating and aggregating relevant content – at the right time, in the right channel and to the right customer. And your brand story must be consistent everywhere. Unfortunately, it’s not like we can turn on the “media company” button and change operations and behavior overnight. It requires a change in attitude, behavior, thinking coupled with processes and governance models; as well as technology that can facilitate the transformation.
Tom Foremski, publisher of tech blog Silicon Valley Watcher has said for several years now that “every company is a media company.” Sadly, some companies don’t know it, resist the change or have no clue on how to fully transform their businesses into media companies. My book, Your Brand: The Next Media Company will help enable your brand, whether large or small, to leverage the frameworks, practices and strategies of social business to fully transform your brand into an operational content marketing machine. Or better yet, a media company.
To learn more about the book and of each chapter, here are some quick slides that outline the narrative of what you can expect.