I work with a number of clients that look to leverage social media to produce business results. I can help them with their strategy, planning and execution. I can tell them about all the ins and outs, tactics, and nuances of a number of social platforms. But if you or your brand are not committed to listening, collaborating, engaging and reacting to your target audience, you will never be social and never be successful with social media. If you want to leverage social media to drive business success, breed a social culture.
What does it mean to have a social culture? It means that the flow of information is consistent. That you are willing and active to talk about your brand when both positive and negative things are said. It means that internal silos are broken down and there is a collaborative movement, a relationship between people, teams, and yes sellers and buyers.
Having a social culture is not about Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, or any other social media platform. It is about a commitment to sharing, engaging, and delivering. Social media success is based on a long term commitment. Yes you can have a quick promotional success that goes viral. I don’t mean to undermine that value. Those wins are extremely important. They represent an increased OPPORTUNITY to build many strong relationships. But once you have accomplished viral exposure, don’t you want to turn that heightened awareness into something stronger?
Using my A-Path methodology, I put that viral awareness in the Attention and Attraction category. It means that the marketing effort was so genuinely compelling, that a great many in your target segment wanted to share the content with their social connections. But if you want to build a strong relationship, it cannot stop there. You’ve just exposed your brand to so many. Now is your opportunity to continue to engage to produce Affinity for your brand. Affinity that leads someone to consciously act and opt-in to be part of the brand Audience. And once that action is taken, remember engaging with your Audience produces Advocates.
Think about relationships in your personal life. What would you consider your best and strongest relationships? I’ll bet the more significant ones have been established over the years and, in most cases, are not something that happened immediately. Why would we expect anything else in business?
Being social and having a social culture is a long term commitment. Not a one time event. Yes a number of one time events build the momentum. Reminds me of Ram Charan’s message in his book, Profitable Growth Is Everyone’s Business: 10 Tools You Can Use Monday Morning. Ram emphasizes the importance of hitting many singles to score and produce runs. It is not just about hitting home runs.
While it is important to have social media expertise in your organization, that does not mean you have a social culture. If your culture is collaborative amongst divisions and your brand has strong engagement both internally and externally then you have a social culture. I emphasize the importance of an internal social culture because it is likely that the way people treat one and another within your company is parlayed to how the company acts towards in existing and potential customers. You cannot fake it … social media unveils who you really are (whether you participate or not) … you cannot hide from the transparency that social media has created.
The reality is that social media has changed how customers engage with brands, even if the brand does not have an active social media presence. Consumers define brand reputation, not the company behind the brand. This is why having a social media presence is imperative. Brands have an opportunity to influence their reputation. And having social media expertise is not enough. Social needs to be part of the company as a whole. I realize this is a new thing for many companies. I see it day in and day out. But companies must be committed to evolving to a social culture.
Social media creates the opportunity for increased business success. It has to be part of a brands business, marketing, and customer service mix. And to be successful with social media, social media expertise is not enough. You must evolve to a social culture as well.
Make It Happen!