Ten years ago, Jim Collins wrote the book “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t.” Collins book continues to be on just about every top business book list I see. “Good to Great” describes how companies go from just being an average company to accomplishing greatness.
And that folks is what I see an abundance of companies need to do today with regards to social media. So many are doing social media, so few are doing great social media. Which do you prefer for your brand?
I have long said that being great at social media is more about mentality than tactics. (This is highlighted in the article, “Forget Social Media – Let’s First Start with Social.”) If we look at the seven characteristics that Collins detailed for companies that went from being good to great, we can make direct correlations to what needs to be done to take good social media to great social media.
Let’s first look at Jim’s list of seven as provided by Wikipedia:
• Level 5 Leadership: Leaders who are humble, but driven to do what’s best for the company.
• First Who, Then What: Get the right people on the bus, then figure out where to go. Finding the right people and trying them out in different positions.
• Confront the Brutal Facts: The Stockdale paradox – Confront the brutal truth of the situation, yet at the same time, never give up hope.
• Hedgehog Concept: Three overlapping circles: What makes you money? What could you be best in the world at? and What lights your fire?
• Culture of Discipline: Rinsing the cottage cheese.
• Technology Accelerators: Using technology to accelerate growth, within the three circles of the hedgehog concept.
• The Flywheel: The additive effect of many small initiatives; they act on each other like compound interest.
Now I am going to take this exact list and paint the given topic in colors that apply to social media:
• Leadership: Do not focus or aim for clout. Simply provide your target market with information and conversation they will most appreciate. Be one-of-the-crowd. Be assessable. But standout by providing awesome content.
• First Who, Then What: Find your target market and go to places (communities, groups, forum, etc) where they already are. Listen first. Capture a great understanding of the group and then engage in conversations. Your target market will tell you what they value most as opposed to you knowing what they need.
• Confront the Brutal Facts: Be a real person. This means you (your brand) will screw up some time. Don’t be afraid to say you were wrong and apologize. Tell your audience what you will do to make sure it never happens again. Do this in a very timely manner. More often than not, you will win people over.
• Hedgehog Concept: Three overlapping circles: What does the target market truly value? What expertise and knowledge can I share with them? What is the passion of my brand?
• Culture of Discipline: Being social is not a matter of jumping on the band wagon. Social business is a matter of conscious choice and discipline. Do you really have a social business or are you just doing social media?
• Technology Accelerators: Use social platforms that are driven by the three circles of the hedgehog concept. Social media is more than Facebook and Twitter. Determine social media channels by defining where your target market goes and places (blogs, communities, forums) that are influential for topics that are tangential to your brand and expertise.
• The Flywheel: Key driver for social media needs to be brand reputation. Brand reputation built upon measurable results of social media and degrees of relationships with your target market. Brand reputation means your audience believes in your mission, ability to execute, and commitment to the market you serve.
Once again – social media may be a new thing, but the way we execute it to deliver awesome results goes back to traditional business and marketing approaches. If you continue to think about social in a manner that leverages traditional successful business and avoid the scariness of it being something so new and foreign, you will see great, not good results.
Make It Happen!