Got Social Culture?

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!
Social Steve

12 Comments

Filed under brand marketing, brand reputation, brands, marketing, marketing plan, social media, social media marketing, social media organization, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve

12 responses to “Got Social Culture?

  1. Re: the point about commitment to social media. Reminds me of a story i heard recently about a certain company who had been enlisting the social media expertise of my friend for some time. They had built up a pretty big online presence, they were doing everything right until suddenly head office decided they weren’t getting a large enough return on their investments. They proceeded to delete all of their social media channels and go back to normal. Totally failed! Everybody assumed that they had gone out of business!!

  2. You’re so right about this, Steve. Mindset and culture are critical to the success of a company’s social media efforts.

    I had a conversation with an agency about this last week. So many businesses shudder at the idea of a two-way conversation online. But, that’s the reality of today. If you’re not willing to embrace feedback – positive or negative – and respond and act accordingly, you’re doomed in the social sphere. A big part of that is integrating social into your overall business culture. I hope more businesses take your advice!

  3. Sheila JacksonH

    I agree. I was just talking to someone about our new ‘culture’ of living out loud, and this new era of transparency. I believe that social media is most effective when it’s organic. Many businesses are challenged with making that transition, because those in the decision-making positions are often from a generation who don’t yet fully understand the very real and lasting presence and value that social media has and will continue to have on how we communicate and make decisions about how we spend our time and money. It’s not something you simply hire an intern to do. It’s got to become an organic function of being, in order to have the desired impact. I had been struggling to discover my voice, as a company, within the social media mix. I was definitely over-thinking it. The answer: to simply be my self.

  4. On the button Steve, it seems many assume now they are on certain platforms that is it. Only yesterday I talked in a discussion on linked in where someone wants everyone in the group to Like a Facebook page to make it look interesting in it’s first days. Much easier to actually make it interesting to the right people not those who are being asked to like and hide.

    As you know there is nothing new in being social, just certain people are having real problems being social online. All they need to do is develop a strategy that makes use of their time instead of saying they haven’t time yet waste time finding people the old ways, when they are all approachable online. All they have to do is communicate something they seem to lose the power of when online.

    As you say it’s about long term relationships not short term sales, we need to recognise natural behavioral patterns and what the mind set of engaging activity can bring.

  5. Right on point Steve. I think building on this idea of social culture, ultimately, those companies who are successful in using social media for their business are the ones who recognize that it’s about people. Those who approach social media as some kind of technology initiative will find it soon enough that while technology is obviously involved, it’s not all about technology.

    Recognizing the relationship-building process, being open to change, transparency, and accepting that making mistakes are all part of what it means to be part of this age of social business.

  6. Jim Matorin

    You nailed it once again. You should frame paragraph three. It says it all.

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