This is not a book about social media marketing. Within these pages, there is no hidden formula that will teach a business how to increase friends, fans and followers. It’s not a book about viral marketing and it doesn’t condone using social media to broadcast one way messages to the masses. This book is different.
Many organizations today spend a lot of time, resources and financial investment trying to understand the social landscape and engaging externally their customers and prospects. They are on a quest to become a social brand. They are investing in Facebook applications, branded communities and blogs; and many are using online monitoring solutions to listen and see what people are saying about the brand. And, from this perspective, many companies today are doing a decent job.
Friends, fans and followers are important, yes. And brands increase their social equity by engaging in two-way dialogue with their constituency, yes. And transparency is key to these external engagements, yes. And while many organizations are trying desperately to humanize their brand, they are failing to understand that they need to humanize their business first.
And thereby lies the business challenge. A few years ago with the growth and expansion of Facebook, Twitter, and other social applications; and as the influence of the social customer became apparent, companies of all sizes and in every vertical began to “join the conversation”. It was not only an expectation from customers but social influencers enjoyed playing Monday morning quarterback and criticized brands for every action/inaction.
And they listened. Organizations now are aggressively hiring community managers and social strategists, allocating budgets to social media, hiring agencies, and creating engagement strategies. They are doing everything a “good” social brand should be doing.
But this book is not about social brands. It’s about an organization’s natural (sometimes forced) evolution into a social business. A social business deals with the internal transformation of an organization and addresses key factors such as organizational models, culture, internal communications, collaboration, governance, training, employee activation, global and technology expansion, team dynamics and measurement philosophy.
In order for companies to do this effectively, they will have to get smarter, acquire new technologies, intelligence, talent and become more open and transparent. They will have to establish processes and governance models that protect the organization yet empower their employees. They have to change the way they do business and that starts with the people of the organization.
An organization that uses social media to engage externally with customers is a social brand; not necessarily a social business. There is a huge difference.
From the outside looking in, most wouldn’t recognize and understand the challenges that social media has created in the enterprise. The anarchy, conflict, confusion, lack of communication and collaboration; and organizational silos that exist behind the firewall is not visible. These challenges make the process of becoming an effective social brand much more difficult and less effective. So for some organizations, this quest to becoming a social brand and a social business is one of a simultaneous effort.
The premise of this book is that organizations cannot and will not have effective, external conversations with consumers, unless they can have effective internal conversations first. And, it’s much more than internal conversations, conference calls and a collaboration forum. For this evolution to take place, organizations need to adopt social behaviors in every aspect of their business.
This is the key takeaway of this book.
This book aims to equip business leaders, marketers and communications professionals with knowledge necessary to transform their business; and it provides actionable insights for them to take back to their teams and organizations to begin facilitating change. The social business evolution will not happen overnight. It may take years. But it has to happen and it will happen. This book will help make that happen.