At this stage in the world of widespread social media adoption, it seems that almost every company has some kind of social media presence. It may not be cohesive, and it might not be integrated into your overall strategy, but hopefully your company has gone beyond the experimentation stage and has implemented a social media program in either a marketing or customer service capacity.
(If you’re using web and social media monitoring for market/industry research too, you are well ahead of the curve — congratulations!)
According to Brian Solis and Charlene Li at the Altimeter Group, there are six steps towards linking customer and employee relationships to social media strategies and business growth. The Evolution of Social Business: Six Stages of Social Media Transformation is a new report that illustrates a process that can move companies into “deeper social business strategies.” This is an in-depth document aimed at taking a company all the way from social confusion to social success.
The first stage is the most important. It’s defined in the report as Planning: Listen to Learn.
- Before you can begin to build a social strategy, you have to understand the landscape of the Internet and how your company fits into that. What is the social behavior of your customers? Where are they talking about your brand? What needs are they expressing online? This will help figure out on which networks you can most effectively connect with them.
- Start a pilot social media program and experiment with the intelligence provided by your social media monitoring. Altimeter says many companies use pilot programs to connect the dots between social media efforts and business impact and then prioritizes which strategies to roll out first. Don Bulmer, VP Communication Strategy at Shell also warns to move beyond experimentation soon afterwards, and go “all in.”
- Competitive intelligence audits help you to understand how your competition is and isn’t using social media. What opportunities are they taking? Which ones are they missing out on? How can you improve on this for your company?
Within this first stage of social business transformation, the report also identifies six best practices in online listening and learning.
READ MORE about those six best practices in the Spiral16 blog.