For anything to be successful it is usual to formulate a plan and this is no different when a business is looking at implementing social media into their overall business strategy.
Social Media Strategy: deciding on what platforms to use, what tactics to use and how to engage with the online community.
Social Business Strategy: concentrates on how best to incorporate social media so it is in line with the overall company vision and business objectives.
I suppose the way of differentiating between these two terms is to understand that a Social Media Strategy is more about the logistics… so we use Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Blogs etc. Who will post and communicate with the community? The Social Business Strategy is related to integrating the social communications to the business strategy and ensuring the communications reflect the company goals and values. Achieving the right Social Business Strategy is extremely important. If it is done incorrectly the community may develop incorrect expectations or opinions about the company which can be damaging for the positioning of the company.
A Closer Look at Social Business Strategy
When looking at the difference in the two strategies, although both are important, I viewed the Social Business Strategy as the one that is potentially more damaging to a company, if they got this part wrong. Its like pretending to be someone you are not. Guidance is needed!
Altimeter Group have published a report which identifies 6 stages which they suggest all businesses go through in order for the business to have a “fully formed, coherent and integrated social business strategy”. Every business will progress through these steps at a different rate but each step will be applied.
Image from The evolution of Social Business. Altimer Group.
Step by Step…
Planning:This step is all about listening to what people are saying about your specific brand or product
Presence: Activate you Social Media Strategy and encourage the community to share
Engagement: Engage in dialogue and start to make relationships within the community
Formalised: Have set policies and procedures so any employee interacting on social media is aware of expectations and has company strategy and values at the forefront at all times
Strategic:The interaction of the community on social media will cross all functional departments in the business so allow it!
Converged:The business is more of a social entity, where social media is integrated into day to day routine practice
Successful Social Business Strategies don’t just happen by accident!
Top Tips according to Altimeter:
- Always be clear about company goals
- Dont just plan for today, plan for the future and communicate these plans
- Get executives on board
- Decide on what social initiatives you want to do and what you dont want to do and allocate resources accordingly
- As social media encroaches on multiple departments make sure staff are trained and able to communicate effectively
- Ensure your team consists of the right people and the right number of people
- Think before you jump! Research the best and most appropriate technology selection
Lots of good ideas for those starting out on the Social Media journey!
Li, C. & Solis, B. (2013). The evolution of social business: Six stages of social business transformation. Altimeter Group.