For the last few years, the social media marketing industry has heavily discussed easier ways of creating great content, coming up with a better social media strategy, or how to narrow in on the right social media metrics to demonstrate ROI. But are these aspects of social media marketing really the biggest challenges facing most companies nowadays?
External marketing and communications is only one piece of the social business puzzle. Michael Brito, SVP of Social Business Planning at Edelman Digital, argues it’s the internal organizational changes that are holding most companies back from being more open, agile and effective with their social media marketing. Writing one amazing ebook or mastering the Facebook EdgeRank algorithm to penetrate the news feed isn’t all we, as marketers, have to think about. Social business means truly thinking and acting like publishers, and that involves changing more than how an organization communicates.“Complex organizations must integrate social into how they do business despite the shifts needed to make it happen,” says Brito. Why? Because, according to Brito, David Armano,and Kazim Ali of Edelmen, business today is upheld by four core truths:
- Communication continues to reach further faster.
- Everyone has a voice and is influential online.
- The increasingly connected world generates an overflow of information.
- Core business objectives will always remain constant.
These four truths are driving necessary internal organizational changes along with smarter external marketing strategies. But every sea change comes with a wave of challenges. Companies across the globe are faced with:
- Inappropriate use of social media by employees
- Inconsistent social media measurement practices
- Outdated crisis communication models
- Non-existent social media governance models and policies
- Disjointed channels, content, and communities
- The inability to scale social media programs globally
- Choosing and implementing the right technologies
A new Pinterest campaign or a bigger advertising budget isn’t the solution to these problems. You can only overcome these challenges by turning the company focus inward. According to Edelman, organizations have to begin:
- Managing and analyzing a wealth of information and data to turn it into actionable insights
- Focusing on innovation rather than continued improvement
- Empowering all employees — not just customer service reps, account representatives or other trained, customer-facing individuals — to participate in the one-to-one conversations about the company or industry
- Conversing with stakeholders on their preferred platforms, channels, and devices
- Communicating with emotion
- Remembering that all business is P2P, regardless of being B2B or B2C
The Three Ps of Social Business
Thriving in today’s business environment is enabled not by one or two, but ALL three Ps: Platforms (technologies), Processes, and People.
The practice of planning and implementing how people, processes and technologies will alter your organization is what Edelman Digital calls social business planning: “the blueprint for the transformation of an organization — bridging the external with the internal, resulting in a more connected way of doing business and shared value for all stakeholders.”
Edelman Digital uses social business planning to help operationalize their client’s internal social media initiatives to drive deeper collaboration across all internal departments so they can effectively adapt to how faster communication is impacting their respective parts of the business. Luckily for all of us, they’ve put together a presentation (below) with more details on what social business planning entails, including example processes and recommended initiatives to activate social business transformation.
What’s the hardest part of social media for your business? Could your organization benefit from better internal collaboration and alignment on social efforts?