The world of Social Business Education at this point is relatively small so it’s not uncommon for the people who live in that world to run across the same people and information from time to time.
This was made ultimately clear to me last week when I came across a study on Social Business from MIT Sloan in collaboration with Deloitte titled “Social Business: What Are Companies Really Doing?” that highlights its emerging values for marketing, innovation, operations and leadership within companies.
The very next day, Michael Brito highlighted that very report in his blog.
While this didn’t really surprise me, since Brito’s always really on the ball with this stuff, it did make me want to preemptively challenge him to a duel where we rush at each other on mopeds carrying nothing but loaves of bread for defense. I don’t care if you’re a Marine, I’m not scared of you.
Once I calmed down and actually read Michael’s article, I realized his post focuses on how the C-Suite views Social Business where my notes were more collected around how to implement Social Business, so I decided that the Internet is big enough for both our posts to exist (although I still want that duel).
Implementing Social Business
Implementation comes at some cost to companies and most senior executives still find themselves confronted with implementation obstacles they’re not quite ready to overcome quite yet.
In the report, MIT Sloan and Deloitte found the top 3 obstacles stopping companies from adopting social business software revolved around management’s lack of the necessary technological understanding, no strong business case for its necessity, and too many other business priorities in the way.
So yeah, there are a lot of pretty tough obstacles to overcome for companies hoping to get on board with implementing social business practices, which makes it all the more important to find an executive champion to help push your cause through.
The report lists a few other necessities you’ll need besides executive support when trying to get over the obstacles in your way:
- Social Tools That Are Easy To Use
- Properly Structured Incentive Programs
- A Clear Purpose For What Problems The Social Initiatives Will Solve
- A Clear Communications Direction For The Social Tools/Programs
In the surveys included in the report, the top facilitator of adoption for executives was a “clear vision of how social media supports business strategy.”
We’ve talked about the importance of a well-defined strategy for your Social Business before, but this just goes to show it matters to the executives as well.
We’ve talked about the questions to ask, but the report lists a few more to take into consideration:
- What business problems are to be solved with social business activities?
- What is the strategy for making this happen?
- Which technologies best support these objectives?
- Which social networks support this strategy?
The other steps Deloitte makes sure to mention when talking about preliminary steps to Social Business implementation are:
- Assess Where You Are Today
- Which tools are you currently using?
- What goals are those tools currently addressing?
- What are the regulatory restrictions for your industry?
- What level of communication do your social and legal teams have with each other?
- Do you have a governance policy in place?
- What’s currently being said about your company online?
- Support Adoption
- Make sure the correct amount of funds are allocated to social activities.
- Are there incentives in place targeting the correct people?
- Are resources allocated for activities such as user training, communications, content building and community management?
- Is training available to distinguish personal and professional uses of social networks?
- Are sufficient resources in place to respond to brand issues that might develop in social channels?
- Measure Results
- Conduct experiments comparing the performance of groups that are heavy and light users of social software and social networking.
- Aside from focusing on adoption metrics, also measure whether managers say the tools increased job effectiveness.
There’s a lot of great information in the MIT/Deloitte Report, everything from initial viewpoints of Social Business, challenges of adoption, the importance of Social Business, areas Social Business improves aside from marketing, and tips on connecting culture and leadership with Social Business initiatives.
It all boils down to commitment though. We all seem to agree that pulling down the veil and being more social with customers is important and will be almost vital within the next 3 years, but it takes a dedicated commitment from a team of people within an organization to initiate true change.
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