How to Give Your Business a Social Boost

This article was written by Juan Felix and originally published on Smedio.

Do you ever ask yourself what your company needs to become a social business? The answer is simple: social behavior. This might sound easy, but it definitely is not. So, how do you incorporate social behavior successfully and can social media support you with this? Before we talk about solutions, let’s look at the problem.

Since World War 2, companies have transformed into organizations that are led by management information, based on predefined results or targets. Information technology has accelerated this development. The dominance of automated systems has turned businesses into system-driven organizations. We do not act in freedom. But we do what the system requires.

I think we all agree, as long as business activities within a company add value to customers the business will survive and grow. Whether it is for services or products. Now, why should system-driven business activities threaten the long-term survival?

If systems are becoming the leader in your daily work, you risk losing touch with the real needs of your clients. Think about the customer contact centers. Ever called a company that answered with an automated voice menu that asked you several questions before you finally talked to a real person? Finally, that person picks up the phone, asks your zip code or address and starts a system search. What if you’re not in the system. What if this person answers: Sir, you are not in our system. I can’t help you. I assume we all agree that in this case the system can’t be leading. But is it possible that systems have become the leader?

Organizations increasingly use systems as a solution for problems within the organization. In some situations, that is fine and fits. For example, salaries paid through a system works fine. However, once we lose touch with our customers and overestimate the solving power of systems, we run the hazards of entering a virtual world. Our company gets caught up in systems that are independent of the changes that take place around us. This might alienate your business from your customers expectations.

Is there a solution, you might wonder. The answer is yes. Look at your business and ask yourself if your business is guided by customers demand or by your supply. How do you ensure that you get input from your customers? And who are the people in your company who have contact with your clients? Are they able to engage with your customers, not only by capability but also because thats what they are supposed to do. In other words, do you support social behavior in your company?

If you ask yourself these questions, you‘ll be able to decide whether and which social media channels fit to your business and how to start a social strategy for long-term success. Where success is defined as engaging with your customers and learning what added value leads to growth in sales.

Appoint someone in your company for the social strategy. Make sure you do NOT call that person manager, coordinator or strategist. Describe him / her as the person responsible for the social strategy. Share with your entire organization that this person represents the survival of your organization. It provides the condition that other employees will see this person as influential. Thus becomes the social strategy and social behavior naturally embedded in your business.

Finally, integrating social media is not the goal of a social enterprise, it’s a tool that supports social behavior. Is your management willing and able to open up for her clients, in whatever way? Are you able to learn from what is really needed. If yes, than your organization satisfies the conditions to become a social business. Fortunately, that’s what your customers now expect.