The 4 Strategic Steps To A Social Business

The speed of change in society is accelerating and according to John Hagel “the average life expectancy of a company in the S&P 500 has dropped precipitously, from 75 years (in 1937) to 15 years according to a recent study”. 4 Strategic Steps To Become A Social Business

Social media is part of that change and has become embedded in our pscyhe at an accelerated pace in recent years and is becoming part of our DNA as human beings and you only have to look at the Facebook phenomenon to see the evidence.

Social Media Is Dead

Recently David Armano of Edelman and the author of the blog “Logic and Emotion” declared “Social media is dead” which in essence means that social media is no longer a separate entity that has its own existence but has evolved and become enmeshed in how we work and play online in an increasingly social web.

Some companies are embracing this change while others resist and hope that things will remain the same. The potential threat to companies… which the laws of evolution has shown us, is that if you don’t adapt you become extinct.

So change is the the only constant we know in the 21st century and becoming a social business is now essential rather than optional.

The Challenge

The first challenge within organisations is how to get others to come along with you and embrace becoming a social business.

Sam Decker from Bazaarvoice was previously responsible for change management at Dell and the challenge he had was.. “How do you get others onboard with what you are trying to do?

Here are his 4 steps to create change within an organisation which can be applied to transforming your company into a social business

4 Strategic Steps To Become A Social Business

1. Start With the P&L

You cannot go to the CFO  or CEO and say” look at how many followers we have”  as it is not going to cut it as you need to speak their language which comes down to how that relates to the P&L. You need to create a bridge that shows that soft metrics such as fans and comments will translate to solid metrics such as visits and inquiry conversions then bridge that to the bottom line such as increased sales or reduced costs. That is the first step in getting buy in from the senior management.

2. Get Customers Participating

If you start getting customers participating that will get you attention. It can be as simple as a customer writing a review and creating content which increases customer engagement (up to 80% of customers are looking for a review when they come to a website or online store).

The cycle of engagement includes

  • Visitors come to the site to read reviews
  • More visitors are attracted to the customers content
  • Visitors attracted to the customers content become a new customer
  • New customer writes a product review

Note: Evidence  shows a 125% higher click through rate to a product with a rating next to it because people know that behind that lies the voice of the customer.

3. Get Employees Participating

How do you keep people following behind as you try to change the company to a social business if they are not involved and engaged?

One method is to apply what is known as the IKEA Effect which states “Labor undertaken in association with a project – similiar to assembly of Ikea furniture – increases people’s  affection for the result of that labor.”

So one strategy is to create a council and give them ownership of part of the project.  This could involve appointing a passionate enployee to become the company blogger or looking after the Facebook page and allow them to have access to metrics that validates that behaviour.

4. Tell Your Stories

This final step gives your employees a pulpit and voice within the organisation to tell their story of how they are assisting in transforming their company to a social business. It could be the product development manager presenting or communicating via a newsletter on how they have taken onboard customer comments and fine tuned products or services that better meet the needs of the market.

These are the strategic steps to start creating change to become a social business.

Is your company openly embracing becoming a social business or is still closed and hoping the social media hype will go away?

Image by Leo Reynolds


  • Gabriele Maidecchi

    This must be the first time I agree with a ” is dead” line.
    I agree, social media isn’t optional anymore, it’s essential for the success of a business.
    Of your 4 points, all very important, I feel like to stress #3, getting your team to cooperate with the social media efforts of the company they are part of is something fundamental to really be successful at it.
    Besides, showing a company with a single mind and vision is a very good self-promotion, rather than letting all the social media tactics to one or two loners.

  • Yinka Olaito

    Social Media is important for business success. Ability to get it right is important. your 4 steps nail it. Keep it up

  • Cheryl Hawley

    Excellent advice! As a community manager, I come across these type of issues requently! I too, started implementing tasks for my clients employees so, they would feel part of the company’s change. The results have been astounding! Once you get past the fear of viral marketing, the light at the end of the tunnel draws closer!