Sunday, 30 June 2013

Happy Social Media Day!

Social business is a mindset. The business becomes open, transparent and collaborative”
(Brian Solis)

Today sees the celebration of the Social Media Day. What a better opportunity (or excuse!) to blog. Writing particularly on social media for internal communications, it amazes me the power and potential they have on our professional lives, organisations and communities. Yet, we are still at the beginning. Many will be their future developments.

So, better to continue having an open mind and open heart when approaching these tools. With that I mean consciusly experimenting, learning, studying and seeking to understand their impacts on our ways of communicating and working.

Indeed, it is not me to say that internal social media have been transforming the way our organisations operate. Recently, social media strategist Silvia Cambie wrote about a fascinating case study of leadership blogging and involvement with internal social media. When reading her post, I was particularly caught by the idea of 'digital listening'. Social media have been requiring us to bring to work a new kind of mindset, skills and approach to communications.

Among all its consequences, this movement has been implying to reinvent and develop the role of internal communications further. That is to help to support the new way of working 'socially' inside our organisations. Surely, any internal social media journey is unique and varies depending on each company.

While stressing the difference between social media and social business (they are not the same thing), Brian Solis from Altimetergroup, highlights the fact that social media are enablers of social business. In particular, he suggests six stages of the social business evolution:


  1. Planning: “Listen to Learn”. Listen to and monitor where you are and where you want to be. This phase requires the company to define specific business goals and objectives for listening; select metrics based on those business goals; select and invest in a monitoring platform; disseminate learning and identify opportunities for the future.

  2. Presence: “Stake our Claim”. Create and encourage a culture of sharing. “Sharing is the foundation of social business”. This stage focuses on linking the social media presence to business objectives, developing sharable content and establishing governance with an eye on the future.

  3. Engagement: “Dialogue deepens relationship”. Provide support. This phase suggests to take a strategic steps to engagement; create rules and processes for engagement; look beyond metrics to understand value creation; communicate the impact of engagement broadly; scale invest in  SMMS (Social Media Management Systems) and audit regularly for new social media usage.

  4. Formalized: “Organised for Scale”. This stage sees discipline, processes and strategic development. “Social business exists across the whole enterprise and needs to be formalised”.
    It requires awareness of the CoE (Center of Excellence) pitfall; development of a formal social business organisational model; definition of the role of the CoE; continuity to coordinate strategy to CoE, and development of stronger connections to business metrics.

  5. Strategic: “Becoming a Social Business”. This stage sees the SMMS to scale employees as well as C-level involvement. “Social pushes into all the part of the business. The organisation engages the executives beyond the champion with focused pilots; integrates CoE into core business functions; masters Big Data for intelligence, and leverages the Enterprise Social Network platform.

  6. Converged: “Business is Social”. Eventually, 'social' drives transformation into all aspects of the enterprise, it is embedded in its DNA. In this final stage, analytics and insights lead to adaptive and predictive strategies. This phase requires to redefine the company's vision to integrate social, align incentives around convergence, and redefine the CoE's role.

The final goal is to 'create value', Brian Solis stresses

What I like of Brian Solis's view is the emphasis on the 'social' aspect of doing social business. In all his works he stresses the importance - and shows the benefits - of focusing on understanding the 'human being', the experiences and conversations happening beyond the tools and technologies. And here, is where the huge potential for internal communications lies.

Happy Social Media Day!