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Steve Farnsworth is the Chief Digital Strategist at Jolt Digital Marketing where he consults mid to large organizations on communication strategies to create product preference and build customer communities that foster brand loyalty. With over 13 years as a senior executive, Steve writes, blogs, and speaks about how smart companies can effectively integrate social media, PR 2.0, and content marketing into their marketing mix. As a director with the Silicon Valley Brand Forum and an adviser to other professional organizations, Steve has moderated panels, spoken at or facilitated industry events at Intel, Yahoo!, HP, Sun Microsystems, Cisco, Adobe, Electronic Arts, Hewlett-Packard, and Stanford. In 2012, he Steve is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 31 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

4 Keys To Growing A Successful Social Business

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A social business takes advantage of tools that accelerate and increase knowledge through collaboration.

That allows the right people, both internally and externally, to have ad hoc conversations that solve problems, foster innovation, enable faster response to critical issues, and have a far greater understanding of customers and market dynamics than the competition.

So where do you start? Understanding the difference of social media and social business is really the first step, but what do you do next?

I asked noted author and speaker on social business Ed Brill what he thought. He breaks it down to four basic elements.

Prepare For Cultural Shift

Becoming a social business has a deep impact on the corporate culture within a company. Before starting a company’s leaders must fully research and embrace what being a social business is. It includes changing from the traditional silo model where you keep knowledge and information internal, to one that rewards and fosters collaboration. A tools focused approach, or worse merely lip service, will only end in failure and tears. A good starting place to start thinking about what will change is The Future of Social Business. Also, Ed has a book you should check out as well. See the link below.

Adopt Only The Right Tools

With dozens of choices, planners can easily be overwhelmed. If they understand not only what is available, but stay focused on which ones specifically help them achieve their stated goals most efficiently, they can then navigate those treacherous waters safely. There is a serious risk of tools driving the process and derailing a great opportunity instead of helping your organization gain the competitive advantage over your competitors. Ed also notes that not all tools are designed with corporate needs in mind. So, selecting ones that are created for businesses, and are being used by organizations of a similar size, is imperative to limiting your risk.

Targeted Deployment

Picking the right places to start implementation is the secret to success. Look at the opportunities you have identified to implement social tools, both internal and external, and ask what you reasonably estimate as a return and your chance for success. Weigh these factors for each program implementation on your list, and then prioritize them by most likely to achieve your highest payoff goals. This balance and tradeoff will give you results that you can build on. Trying to bat 500 out the gate is hard. Be reasonable and keep evolving.

Communicate Clear Outcomes and Benefits

Knowing what the goals are and how you will measure the results is vital. Social business is evolving weekly and is different from organization to organization. More importantly, so is communicating those goals and benefits to every manager and individual contributor within the organization. A social business is one that passes information up, down, and sideways. While social business empowers a lot of freedom among the employees, clarity from the leadership about the company’s goals and accomplishments is the secret sauce for ultimate success.

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Published at DZone with permission of Steve Farnsworth, author and DZone MVB.

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