7 Lessons From Social Business Leaders

Posted by on November 7, 2012

How can you maximize the use of social media and social software with employees, customers, and partners? The BrainYard decided to seek out and highlight companies that are well on the road to becoming truly social businesses. Below is a summary of their findings.

The BrainYard chose seven companies as examples of social business leaders:

  1. Bonobos
  2. Cemex
  3. Ford
  4. McKesson
  5. Red Robin Gourmet Burgers
  6. TD Bank
  7. Unisys

With seven lessons that emerged from these companies’ experiences:

1. Let Business Drive Technology, Not The Other Way Around

At Ford, social technology is helping accelerate the One Ford strategy aimed at breaking down organizational silos, a policy that CEO Alan Mulally established in 2006. Mulally wasn’t thinking in terms of social technologies when he first articulated that vision, but social tools present “just an amazing opportunity to start bridging these gaps,” Monty says.

2. Use Metrics To Measure Progress

Measuring the performance of social initiatives against quantifiable metrics lets companies see what’s working and what needs to be fixed. Hard numbers can also be useful in terms of getting people–internally and externally–to buy into the use of social tools.

3. Identify New Opportunities

Social technology’s multifaceted nature–from monitoring social networks for product comments, to interacting with customers, to internal networks for employee collaboration–can present a challenge in terms of nailing down what you actually do with it, but it’s also an opportunity because it can be applied so many ways.

4. Show Employees How Social Is Relevant To Their Jobs  

Focused training works, as does encouraging employees to share lessons about how social tools work or don’t in a particular job. “Nothing drives the adoption of something new more than a colleague telling you it works for them,”

5. Overcome Cultural Challenges

Not everyone uses social networking outside work, some don’t like it, and there are a lot of fears and inhibitions about using the technology. Companies need to recognize this reality and not just foist social software upon employees unsupported and expect results.

6. Don’t Hamstring Use

While companies must win over employees who resist social networking, they also need to tap into the knowledge and energy of those that have been using Facebook and Twitter for years and are the true experts.

7. IT And Business Unit Leaders Must Work Together

More companies are embedding IT talent directly into departments such as marketing, something that should improve the use of social technology. This connection makes it more likely that companies will deploy social tools quickly as the business decides it needs them, but within a framework that considers data security, privacy policies, and integration with existing applications. The job of a social business leader is to find the right balance.

Click here to read the full article posted on The BrainYard on November 07, 2012