As technology and innovation constantly change the day to day world we live in, companies are constantly tweaking and adjusting their strategy and objectives to leverage this change. The question is, how does a small business or enterprise constantly change while providing value for current customers, leveraging new technology to create new customer experiences and also recruit and retain employees to innovate faster and cheaper. The answer to these questions are often linked to company culture, community engagement and utilization of data and cloud technologies. These concepts aren't new to today’s businesses who seek to become a “social business” but implementing and scaling these massive business shifts have proven to be difficult.
There is no easy button for becoming a social business and although start-ups have the easiest path as they can focus on establishing new philosophies and experiences, the starting point and foundation for businesses of all sizes to become a social business are the same, the employees. Great companies are great because of great employees and companies who become great social businesses will be great because of their social employees.
Employee advocacy and employee engagement programs are often viewed as massive projects that halt productivity and innovation, therefore scaring leadership into throwing money at “buzzword band-aid” initiatives such as social media marketing, social selling and influencer marketing. Each of these initiatives are vital for a company to be a social business but without a strong employee advocacy and engagement program, the change and success will be difficult to scale and be limited to short term objectives. For a company to become a social business and reap the benefits, it must start by creating and empowering an employee community, then leverage this community to scale, recruit and engage their community.
Being Social isn’t new for Businesses
Many have stated that “Social Media Marketing” and “Social Selling” are both buzzwords that in 10 years won’t be used, and I believe that idea isn't far fetched not because social networks will disappear or these skill sets won’t be needed rather marketing and sales have always been “social” and the idea of leveraging social networks will be implied. So if marketing and sales are naturally social why is it so hard for companies and brands to transition into a social business. The simple answer is that change is scary and when that change includes exposing your good and bad experiences while relinquishing power to the consumer, brands are essentially increasing their vulnerability by 100%. To leverage this data, engagement and vulnerability, the company must build bridges between silo’d departments and require open collaboration and teamwork.
Vulnerability and Employee Advocacy are Social Businesses Leverage Points
Being vulnerable and empowering employees as industry thought leaders may sound like a recipe that scare stockholders, yet in 2014 it’s quite the opposite. Thanks to the transparent real-time social world we live in today, many leaders and brands are struggling to find ways to build up the trust and authenticity they’ve lost over the years. Brands and leaders who are delivering on their promises and have nothing to hide, are empowering employees and leveraging this new vulnerability to relate and engage with their internal and external communities amplifying their story and creating loyal advocates. This upside and relationship with the community far outweighs the risk and worry of employee mistakes or successful employees leaving the company.
Build your social presence and footprint with us. Here are some interesting statistics for those of you already using social media to build your business and those considering it. Either way, we can help.
Stew Friedman is a Wharton professor who encourages his students to share intimate details of their lives, while the profs down the hall are talking about statistical analysis. But he's aiming a bit higher than the standard business school fare; Stew helps students - and the rest of us - better manage the interaction of four domains: work, home, community, and the private self.
Here's a typical soundbite:
I encourage you to clarify what you care about most, then who you care about most, then discover thru dialogues what you need and expect from each other. In most cases, this reveals you have more room to maneuver than you thought."
Stew argues that simply trying to achieve "work/life balance" is not nearly enough. Instead, you have to choose the people who matter to you, and actively seek opportunities for change that you haven’t seen before. This happens, he says, when you shift your frame of reference to thinking about not just what’s good for you, or your career, or your family, or your community. Instead, you need to look at all four together.