Learning from the Experts: Reaching Social Business Maturity

Did you know that the average corporate social business program is only three years old? Some companies are already defining best practices. Alitmeter have produced a superb report on how to prepare for social business. It’s free. It’s very good.

Some points that I pulled out from it are here.  The full report is at the end.

Many companies are looking at using the latest social media technology, yet most have not prepared for the threat of social media crises, or the long-term effects on business. To become advanced in the use of social media as an organisation there are four recommended steps. First, develop business objectives and establish governance, then get organized by establishing a team and a process to deal with crises. Next, connect business units to increase coordination and reduce duplication. Finally, weave real-time market response into business processes and planning. Advanced companies prepare for social business with the following four internal requirements:

  1. Baseline Governance and Reinforcement: Established and reinforced a corporate social media policy that allows employees to participate professionally
  2. Enterprise-Wide Response Processes: Defined processes for rapid workflow and engagement with customers in social media
  3. Ongoing Education Program and Best Practice Sharing: Fostered a culture of learning through ongoing social media education
  4. Leadership from a Dedicated and Shared Central Hub: Organized in a scalable formation, with a cross-functional “Center of Excellence”

Social media crisis management strategy

As part of a company’s digital strategy, a crisis management strategy- including an escalation plan for dealing with negative comments should be formulated including outlines of rules responsibilities and possible actions

A social media crisis is an issue that arises in or is amplified by social media, and results in negative mainstream media coverage, a change in business process, or financial loss.

Crisis can be categorized according to 3 severity levels:

Level 1: crises that result in negative coverage in mainstream media
Level 2: crises that result in negative coverage in mainstream media, and a significant response or change by the company
Level 3: crises that result in short-term financial impact.

In the majority of cases crisis can be prevented or diminished with thorough preparation and staff training.

Source Altimeter report (August 2011) Social Business Readiness: How Advanced Companies Prepare Internally

Causes of Social Media crisis primary stem from the exposure of poor customer experiences, poor influence relations or violations of ethical guidelines.  Most companies that suffer from a social media crisis lack proper social media internal education for employees.

The Social Business Hierarchy of Needs

These recommendations are organized by dependency – much like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Companies must first meet baseline needs at the bottom of the pyramid before moving on to the next set of requirements.

Altimeter Social Business crisis management
And here is the most excellent report.  THANKS Altimeter for making it freely available.