Social business is not just about a business embracing social media...well, not for me anyway. Social business is about the whole business becoming social, or maybe a better word would be connected to the outside world. In a way merging of the company, supplier, customer, consumer and the stakeholders.
For this to happen there are 5 must have's
- Transparency - for two reasons. Tranparent to create trust in the brand and also because anything else will be found out in the digital sharing age.
- Symmetry - Internally actions and words must match to create engagement. Without internal engagement it will be harder, if not impossible, to engage the market. Symmetry is also about making sure that you see digital platforms as different ways of connecting so the vehicle of delivery may change but the message must stay true to the brand.
- Freedom - Control in so many ways was replaced by freedom not total freedom...but freedom with responsibility. So brands need to allow employees to have the freedom to talk for the brand - not about the brand. However, if anyone abuses that freedom, the shield is the responsibility shield. Brands also need to accept the freedom of the market, that consumers don't have to buy from you, don't have to come and talk to you....they have choice, they have Google to find their own recommendations. Don't see freedom as anarchy, see freedom as disruptive to tradtional business and use it as a spur for greater conversational, content marketing.
- Collaboration - Recognise that a meeting which compromises to gain consensus is weaker than a company that collaborates across functions to find a way round the immediate problems. Issues are the blocks for your competitor and the step to growth for you!
- Participation - A social business is not one that you can delegate to communications or marketing. Social businesses have leaders, employees, customers, suppliers, employees and stakeholders who participate each day to create conversations...not for conversations sake but for the sake of finding great ideas, fabulous experiences and of course profitable growth. Happy, loyal customers pay more!