I invite you to read the latest report released by Jeremiah Owyang and his team at the Altimeter Group. I was honored to take part in the survey and did and interview with the team there. I was also fortunate enough to be quoted in the report. It was released today and I link it later in this post.
The report itself has some gems that must be considered by any social strategist regardless of the stage of social development within their current role or company.
The report, entitled “Social Business Readiness: Advanced Companies Prepare Internally,” comes to some important conclusions no matter where your company is in the social business development cycle.
A few of the findings worth mentioning at a high level are:
- Even advanced companies are ill-prepared for social media crises:Â Having lived through one or two of these myself in the past year, the research found most companies aren’t truly prepared for a social media crisis and the long-term effects it can have on their business. This is especially troubling as the instances of these crises are increasing at a dramatic pace.Â Altimeter found that overwhelmingly (76%) of these crises could have been lessened or avoided altogether had those companies invested more internally in preparing for them. It seems most of us are investing well in areas like technology but not in preparing for crises like these.
- Advanced companies invest in four social business requirements:Â Some of the problem is born out of a lack of acceptance and the realization around the complexities that come along with social business. As such, companies are quick to increase their presence in social channels – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, – without a reprioritization internally to account for these new customer touch points. As the report states: “For the corporation, this involves a realignment of roles, policies, processes, and more -it’s a transformation of the enterprise into a social business.”Â That’s a big deal. I believe most brands are very early in their social life cycle (reports says on average three years in) and many are still focused on making social strategists what Owyang calls the “social media help desk.” A very functional and tactical role and viewpoint on social media. That’s fine at first, but to truly recognize the benefits of social business, it has to evolve quickly from there.Â Based on the feedback, Altimeter found that the most advanced social business companies prepare for the evolution with four key internal requirements:
- Baseline governance and reinforcement - This includes reinforced policies that allow for employee contribution.
- Enterprise-wide response processes - Built for rapid workflow and engagement across social platforms.
- Ongoing education and best practice sharing - Fostering a culture of learning and education around social media.
- Leadership from a dedicated and shared central hub - Organzied in a way that is scalable and allows for the creation of a cross-functional “Center of Excellence.”
You can read details on each of those requirements but they’re dead-on. If you look at some of the most respected brands in social business today, they have those four areas and really do them well. Altimeter gives great examples of those companies in the report, offering great insight we can all learn from.
- To evolve into an advanced social business, companies must adopt the Social Business Hierarchy of Needs - this step is vital for social strategists to get C-level support and to really chart a course to measurable success. The Social Â Business Hierarchy of Needs (pictured on the above) is based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which provides a dependable road map to achieve social business goals. Of course, everything starts with a foundation and social business is no different. Having objectives, policies, education and access may seem a given, but often people skip this step and react versus set up the hierarchy for success. Here, Owyang and Altimeter give everyone Â valuable and free tool. You’d be wise not to ignore it.
There are some great findings and information in this free report and I invite my fellow social strategists to take the time to read it.
Let me know what you think about the findings.
A special thanks to Jeremiah, Â Andrew Jones and Christine Tran from Altimeter for including me in their interviews. They continue to make it easy for people in social business to learn and get better.
Link to report: