Don’t Bother Building Belief in Social Business


I am torn. On the one hand, I sincerely believe there are real teeth in this idea of social business. That the collaboration and communication that comes with applying social practices and technology to business will change how our businesses work and create value. There are many experts, especially in the marketing and communications field, who see all things ‘social’ as a subset of a grander topic of digital transformation. I see social as bigger than digital and the next evolutionary step for business. I would rather work towards creating a social business powered by all sorts of digital technologies than a ‘digital business.’

On the other hand, most C-suite executives can’t get very far by trying to sell the concept of a social business into their next tier leadership.

I have written a plan describing a simple and practical way for business leaders to think about gaining the benefits of social behaviors (and the technologies supporting those behaviors).  I am not suggesting that I have broken new ground here. Rather, I wanted to simplify.

In many ways the promise of a ‘social business’ is to get us back to what we care about — people working together to create something of greater value than they could have if they had remained unconnected and apart.

Building Belief in the Basics

The plan doesn’t ask business leaders — especially those in the next tier beneath C-suite leadership  — to believe in social media. Let’s get back to basics and apply social behaviors and technologies to what builds value within an enterprise.

We need to build belief around enduring fundamentals:

  • Paying closer attention to customers will help us understand their needs and behaviors better
  • Earning people’s attention and advocacy (and their business) will increase the value of our customers and our business
  • A new set of influencers may impact our business in significant ways and we had best know who they are and how to engage productively
  • The customer journey is complex and requires all the data — including social data — and understanding of human behaviors in order to affect business
  • Marketing agility increasingly hits the bottom line as crises and issues rapidly accelerate across the social Web
  • Social tools can improve how we produce value and innovation from collaboration with employees, partners and customers
  • Driving up customer satisfaction and intervening earlier when problems arise can improve reputation and the bottom line

Time to Trade Up to A Social Business Strategy from Social@Ogilvy