Brian Solis’ Little Blue Book of Social Transformation

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Social Media and top executives. Most of the times a tough combination. Executives for the most part don’t get social media. They’re focused on the overall goals of the organization and don’t have a feeling with new media, technology etc. If you want to convice them, you need to talk their language. You need to show them how social contributes to the company goals. Salesforce and Brian Solis of Altimeter Group recently collaborated on a special project to help executives understand the real impact of social media, resulting in an interesting free guide called The Little Blue Book For Social Transformation. A guide that can help you to convince your management and take the first (or next) step towards a social enterprise.

A real social conversation company goes beyond an online customer care team that only solves issues. A real social company not only wants to solve the (reputation) issue, they alsowant to solve the real problem that causes the issues . As you can see in the table of contents above the focus of the guide is not just about customer care or a campaign. The goal is to convince your executive that your company needs to become a social company. The guide outlines 20 principles that lead that change. A short summary to get you started with the guide.

Lay the Groundwork for Social Success: Convey clear benefits to your business, customers, and employees

The first phase is certainly not easy, but it lays the foundation for success. Determine what the added value of social is for your business, your customers and your employees. “Give your colleagues a reason to believe†is a good quote for this crucial phase. For these significant changes to take effect in your organization, you need allies. So make sure you get support. It’s definitely also needed for the last step in this phase the creation of a Social Taskforce.

Know you customers like never before: Gain social insights to understand what really matters

Negative sentiment about your company in social media is no fun for a marketeer. But the real marketer realizes that social media is almost realtime market research and sees social as a wonderful way to get to know the customers and see what your company needs to improve. No more waiting for a report from your market researchers. With social you have direct feedback from (some of) your customers. “Social media isn’t a nuisance, it’s one of the greatest gifts your business could ask for“.

Connect and collaborate with colleagues instantly: Flatten your organization, uncover expertise, and improve productivity

This phase is about the internal organization of your company. It’s about passionated and engaged employees who share information with each other by using internal social media. Make social engagement—internal, external, or
both—a criteria to become a top performer. Tear down does silos. All employees share, communicate, are open and willing to make new connections social media.

Build deeper relationships by engaging customers in new way: Collaborate in real time with customers, prospects, and partners

The previous chapter was about tearing down silos within your company. This chapter is about breaking the barriers between your company and your customers. It’s about true collaboration, turning customers and partners into stakeholders. Almost Steven’s definition of customers in his book the Conversation Company “Customers are employees that are not on your payrollâ€. A previous post can help to get more insights in how to implement a successful collaboration strategy: 5 pillars for a successful evolution towards structuralcollaboration.

Listen and lear from public social networks: Get insights to shape unique experiences for your communities

The last chapter starts with setting up a listening center. My article about Social Media Monitoring Tools & Listening Centers and the Altimeter 2012 report Social Media Management Systems might by useful in this phase. A Listening Center, Social Intelligence Center or Command center not only manages your companies conversations. The center also turns the avalanche of social data into valuable information. Information that helps you to make your company more customer centric, change processes or service if needed and improve your online conversations. Ending in creating remarkable online experiences as a social company.

Overall a nice set of principles to get you and your executive started. Do share the guide with someone in your company who can help. It’s your first fellow thinker. One additional advice from me that I missed in the guide: Set up a reporting system that shows your progress towards the KPIs and the organizational goals. Remember, executives are focused on the overall goals of the organization!