Does your Midmarket C-Suite function like absentee landlords when it comes to through-putting your social business strategy?
They talk the talk. Are they too busy to walk it? Are they too busy to lead it?
Leadership involvement in your social business hinges on how willing your C-Suite is to collaborate strategically and digitally. This strategy “involves” more than outsourcing your company’s Midmarket C-Suite digital presence to social media agencies or your company’s social media manager.
Perhaps that’s why so much of SME (small to medium size enterprise) digital presence looks like a streaming job board and sounds like a “How Great We Are” proclamation. Your Midmarket C-Suite treats social media like sprinkles on a cupcake: a garnish instead of a critical element of your company’s competitive business strategy.
Conduct an experiment in your company. Walk up to a C-Suite member. Ask her what her own, personal, digital strategy is for your company’s social business. What’s her answer? Are you immediately referred to the Marketing Department?
In order to walk the social business talk for your small to midsize enterprise, the Midmarket C-Suite must get their hands dirty. They need to consider moving at least 1 millimeter outside of their present social business comfort level. How? By becoming directly involved in the creative process behind your social business and its digital execution into the marketplace.
How powerful does your social business become when social media messages are generated by the C-Suite in response to real-time trends within industry verticals and customer segments?
Is your current social business strategy siloed from how your Midmarket C-Suite currently conducts their daily business (“as usual”)? This separation of functions may be a factor in the success of the social media component of your social business.
Is your Midmarket C-Suite siloed from actively participating in through-putting their social business strategy onto social media platforms? It’s your responsibility to make these folks comfortable communicating digitally.
Is your Midmarket C-Suite “too busy” talking social business strategy but implementing on-the-ground-strategy using status quo methods? Time to change those methods throughout the duration of at least one beta project.
Chances are there is a breakdown, at the Midmarket C-Suite level, when it comes to inputting the concept of the social business throughout legacy business models. It’s like business model plate tectonics: a three-way collision between “the way it’s always been done,” “the way our marketplaces are doing it” and “the way it needs to be done.”
Have I just described your small to midsize enterprise? Does your Midmarket C-Suite merely pay lip service to the concept of the social business?
When your Midmarket C-Suite leads the vanguard of your social business, they are focused on through-putting cross-functional collaboration strategies throughout your organization. They are dedicated to taking that leap of faith, squirming a bit in their own discomfort, as they utilize strategies and technologies which initially make them feel awkward.
When I work with SME’s I recommend that they select a social media platform they already are a member of and comfortable using. For many SME CEOs and their teams, this platform is LinkedIn. We get started by posting on their Home Page. They choose an article they read, along with a comment or two from them. Then they ask for feedback from their Connections.
In order to reinforce their new “habit”, these CEOs and their teams must post another article-plus-comment three times a week. Each C-Suite team member takes responsibility for making a contribution to the schedule. This strategy gets the C-Suite thinking about content that is relevant and valuable to their customers.
Leadership involves continuously educating yourself so you can educate your constituents. Leadership involves risk-taking and self-growth, so you can encourage others to move outside their comfort level. Leadership involves that “C” word: Change (hope you weren’t anticipating I would say “comfort.”)
There’s something compelling in a real, live Midmarket C-Suite call-to-action communicated via social media platforms.
There’s something tremendously accessible in this strategy as well.
Discuss this post with your Midmarket C-Suite. Full implementation of the concept and model of the social business is for everyone, including them. It is an inclusive social business model. It’s not an either-or business model, for everyone other than your leadership.
Something for us all to chew on this month. Let me know what you think.
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. Find out more about selling to skeptical buyers and technical decision makers on her Free Resources page.