What is Social Strategy?

From "Why Social Security?" (1937)
After a week of teaching and presenting corporate workshops on Social Strategy, I am struck by the fresh untainted perspective of the university students and the entrepreneurs and the resistant fear of the larger corporate clients. I sift through from my favorite tweets and blogs, a few searches based on kernels and new thoughts. I allow myself to get “sucked in” in the name of research. I keep fighting with the semantics in my search. It must go beyond social media as a marketing tool, enterprise 2.0 as internal communications systems, and social enterprise CSR for directing public opinion. To be truly effective social strategy, it must include all these elements. I follow “social media optimization” (and “optimization”), “social strategy”, “social business”, “enterprise 2.0”, “knowledge sharing”, “knowledge management”, and more.

Thanks to Beth Kanter’s tweet I’m lead to, Antisocial: Why Corporate America Keeps Rejecting Social Media” by Geoff Livingston of CRT/Tanaka. Geoff talks about the five barriers: Control, Authenticity, Self-Promotion, Shiny Object Syndrome and Personal Brand Conundrums. I might add anti-social Corporate Culture (lack of trust) and not shared Vision to his list. All of these issues are easier to teach a student or easier to adapt for entrepreneurs, therefore giving them a clear edge. The follow up article was equally interesting: Top Five Organizational Silos” identified: CxO Suite, PR/Public Affairs, IT, Sales and Marketing /Donor Development, and Legal. With start ups these roles are already shared, so they find it easier to avoid (ie. The solos are not constructed in cement yet). I was finally getting to the content and conversations I wanted to hear more.

Social Business Design by Gurav Mishra of 20/20 Social

I come from a background in knowledge management (corporate) and learning management (education) where they are essentially same thing, just different names. I knew I had to dig deeper changing my semantics yet again to get what I wanted. So I hit it and was pleased to see others with the same evolution of thoughts. It is “Social Business Strategy.” Guarav Mishra of 20/20 Social phrased it very well in his article titled appropriately, “From Social Media Marketing to Social Business Strategy”. When working with companies on their social strategy, it often gets relegated to the Communications or Marketing departments otherwise thought of as “soft” side of business. It is a strategic decision to be social, and must be treated as part of the objectives of the organization. Social business strategy must be adopted organization wide if it is to be effective. It is not just about refining the communications and using new tools. It is a change in culture and how we do business both inside and outside our organizations. Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Groupdoes a nice job bullet pointing the areas of impact for social strategy in“Companies Must Plan Holistically For Social –Beyond Marketing

Of course, we come to the area that we all love, the return on investment, the impact on business performance and the future. Oliver Marks of ZDNet presents the issue of cultural adaptation to the collaborative model in his post on How To Sell Collaborative Business Performance Internally”. He stresses the importance of leadership and vision in creating success in his post “Social Business in Action – Establishing Excellence”. Identifying and the champions and ambassadors that will make the social change happen are important to recognize and treat as such. The vision that is expressed from the leadership should be clear, concise and something that the entire community can embrace. Entrepreneurs and students are social in nature, as a matter of survival. They often need the assistance in refining their goals and objectives so that they too can communicate their vision.

At least now I know what I need to call it, concise and clear: Social Business Strategy. Who else is working from this angle that we should follow?

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