Social media is fast, it’s constant and it’s everywhere. It can also be daunting, overwhelming and, at times, let’s be honest, a little bit annoying (I’m thinking constant updates from people enjoying sunnier climates than me!).
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to understanding the role that social media plays in brand awareness, product adoptions and community engagement. And there’s equally a lot to consider when you’re thinking about how to integrate this approach into your business so that it becomes part of the fabric of your organisation.
In terms of the evolution of social media and where we are now, the model for companies that is lauded today is that of the social business.
A social business is defined as ‘an organisation that has put in place the strategies, technologies and processes to systematically engage all the individuals of its ecosystem (employees, customers, partners, suppliers) to maximise the co-created value’.
I like this definition because it is clear, yet multi-faceted. It defines engagement as holistic in that it encompasses all players so that everyone is involved in the process. It knocks the traditional organisation on its head because decisions are no longer made solely by managers and it further develops the idea of customer engagement by seeing it as a part of the debate rather than dictating the debate, as can happen with social CRM.
If the social business is the model that is the new aspiration for companies today, it is helpful to understand it as a journey. Emanuele Quintarelli puts forward his Social Business Maturity Model and illustrates a pattern he has identified in this journey:
- Culture: the journey from an isolated approach where a company shows a lack of understanding of how to use social media for business, to people centric where the entire value creating chain is affected by the conversations happening between the company and its ecosystem.
- Organisational approach: the journey from being unaware of who is in charge of the company’s presence in social media, to a situation where all customer-facing departments in the organisation are aligned under a single client-centered focus.
- Customer involvement: the journey from having no role for, or relationship with the client in social media, to co-creation where everyone involved in the value chain is recognised and enabled to work with the company in an egalitarian and mutually beneficial relationship.
- Technology: The journey from having no use of social tools coordinated by the organisation, to having internal and external processes socialised so that feedback comes from customers, prospects, suppliers and partners.
Has your organisation adopted a social business model? If so, has your journey to get there followed the one illustrated by Emanuele Quintarelli? Or, do you feel like your company is a long way off this model?