Prentice Welch is one of Lithium’s Customer Success Directors, providing best practices consulting and helping our customers get the most out of the Lithium suite of social business applications.
You can find him frequenting the Lithosphere, where he is PrenticeW.
At this year’s LiNC, I had the pleasure of attending the first ever, LiNC Social Strategist Workshop. This was a whole afternoon led by well-known industry analyst Jeremiah Owyang, partner at the Altimeter Group. Here, we brought together nearly 20 leading community practitioners and social strategists with Jeremiah to discuss issues relevant to their changing roles.
After surveying over 140 corporate social strategists, Jeremiah and his team were able to offer a unique perspective on the state of “social business” as it stands today.
Sitting in on the presentation were key social strategists from some of the largest brands around: HP, Verizon, and Yahoo to name a few (excuse me while I bend over and pick up those names I just dropped ).
While Jeremiah’s presentation was full of useful data with which any budding social strategist can use to benchmark their efforts (please find the presentation and key supporting reports attached to this article below), the key takeaway was the notion of achieving “escape velocity” – essentially building your social program in such a way that it can scale with the needs of your business without relegating you to managing the so-called “social media helpdesk”.
“To be successful using social technologies, companies must first prepare and align internal roles, policies, processes and education with their business objectives. Social business is a profound change that impacts all departments in the organization.” Jeremiah Owyang
What do you, the social strategist, need to do in order to promote your brand, hold other groups within your organization accountable and scale to meet the growing demands of the business and your customers?
In a word: PREPARE.
Below is a template to follow when getting ready internally to launch and effectively manage your social efforts:
Program Charter – ensures alignment and consistency, optimizes resources across the organization
Roles and Responsibilities – Executives, Legal, Support, Product, IT Key Roles: Strategist and Community Managers
Policies – Created with the help of Legal, shared across the enterprise, used to educate and enforce rules of engagement
Roadmap – Short, mid, and long term strategy roadmap with key business objectives and benchmarks to measure against
Budget and Headcount - See attached report, “How Corporations Should Prioritize Social Business Budgets”
Education – Plan to capture and share best practices, regular internal social council meetings or “un-conferences”, employee certification programs
Research – Competitive analysis, where are your customers spending their time online today?
Monitoring – understand what your customers and others are saying about your brand
Measurement – get the right data to the right people. Executives care about things like revenue, reputation, and CSAT. Business Stakeholders care about things like share of voice, support response, and insights. Community managers care about engagement metrics like number of users, views, or posts.
Collaboration – creating the business processes required to enable different business units to coordinate their efforts to serve the needs of your customers
Software and Services
'Social Business Stack' – Social Networks, Monitoring and Analytics, and Social platforms that allow the publication, aggregation, and digital curation of your user generated content.
Based on Jeremiah’s presentation and the feedback provided by the group in attendance, we are still quite early in evolution of the social business lifecycle. There is still much to be learned and many more best practices to be developed in the coming years.
Tailoring the framework above to the unique requirements (impediments?) of your business will give you the best chance of achieving the level of scale required for your social efforts to succeed.
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Jake, I recently sat in on a community kickoff meeting with a midsized company and found that there was a strong desire on their part to spend a lot of time (1+ month) in the "soft-launch" phase. Their rational behind all that time in soft-launch was that they wanted to have time to "seed" the community with content. Initially, it made sense to me that they might want to do that, but the CSM informed me that it goes against Lithium best practices as more often than not, it can create an "artificial" feel immediately upon launch. From my own experience, there is nothing worse than finding my way to a community or forum, expecting to find a lively and engaging back-and-forth,only to find a set of 'canned' content that would do better presented in a static format, like a white-paper or article. Keeping in mind from the beginning that a vibrant community is a "living/breathing" entity can help keep the focus on creating an environment that will foster positive interaction, keep users coming back, and foster strong, organic growth. -Prentice
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