There are a lot of terms being thrown around the business ecosystem involving the term “social.” There’s social selling, social sharing, social marketing, social platforms… you get the picture.
The message that you receive, as the leader of your small to midsize business, is that you are behind the times if you don’t have a Twitter account, and updated LinkedIn profile, or a Facebook Fan page for your company. Your “social” business strategy is equated with throwing stuff out into cyberspace, hoping some of it will stick, new customers will find you and, most importantly, buy from you.
I’m giving you permission to stop throwing social media spaghetti against the wall, hoping it will stick. I can hear you all breathing a communal, collective sigh of relief.
Before the internet, and perhaps prior to the advent of the first wheel, “social” meant: civil, communal, collective, societal, communicative, and informative.
In every small to midsized company I’ve consulted for, there were breakdowns in internal communication and interpretation of critical processes and practices. These disconnects inevitably resulted in negative business and manufacturing outcomes.
The root cause: poor to nonexistent communal, collective collaboration from top to bottom, and side to side, within the company.
Even if you lead a company comprised of manufacturing robots, each one of those complex machines is communicating with the next one. Each one of those robots has some aspect of interoperability, or cross-functional capability. These machines have each other’s robotic backs.
Can you say the same is true within your own small to midsized enterprise?
I’d wager to say that most of your business’s input, throughput and output are created by humans, not robots. How interactive, cross-functional, collaborative and interoperable are the people you rely on to sustain your business?
Social business strategy is founded on discovering, disseminating/sharing and dissecting/collaborating the significance of information that is mission-critical for moving your business not only forward next month and next year, but towards creating a sustainable economic footprint for the future.
Your social business strategy starts by viewing your employees as important components of your very social business model. They are not just hourly paid employees.
Your social business strategy involves everyone’s input in discovering information they perceive is currently missing from their individual, as well as collective, knowledge base.
What do you currently not know that you all need to know?
For some of you reading this post, your nascent social business strategy can involve nothing more than creating an online document or folder, accessible to all employees, containing links to interesting articles that team members feel are relevant to business growth. That’s a solid start.
The start of your social business strategy means that everyone assumes that everyone else doesn’t have all the right answers. Collectively, you collaborate and search for source information, industry trends, regulatory updates, and data on economic factors which impact your business longevity in today’s constantly cycling marketplace.
Your social business strategy grows by utilizing online, potentially Cloud-based platforms, technologies and tools for storage, ease of access, dissemination and sharing within your company. The act of identifying, disseminating, sharing and interpreting data and information results in your collaborative and very social business.
Is this making sense, now? I haven’t said a thing about tweeting, have I?
Depending on where you sit around the business table, everyone sees, hears and interprets the same things, differently. Yet your current business model may keep everyone within your organization in mutually exclusive, departmental business silos.
Start developing your social business strategy by focusing internally. We’ll move to subsequent steps in your social business strategy in my next post.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, catalyzes collaborative business transition, startup growth, and professional development. She works with non-traditional sellers, engineers, small and midmarket manufacturers, and technical startups.