May was makeover month. Not for me (unfortunately - that would have been nice) but for our website. You see, I'm on a journey with Tribal Impact. When I set out on this journey I had a clear mission for Tribal Impact. To help B2B organisations achieve measurable success using social technologies. Essentially, creating scalable social impact across the entire business.
During my relatively short business journey, I've noticed a trend. A trend that has all the potential to confuse the market. In my industry, we often talk about Social Selling, Employee Advocacy, Inbound Marketing, Social Recruitment and Social Media Marketing in isolation of each other.
It's true that they all have their slightly different 'social' approach but at their core, the purpose and objectives are the same. Pull rather than push. Inbound rather than outbound.
If we're not careful, we'll start building social silos. Different tools. Different training programs. Different leaders. There's every danger that it becomes an internal competition as to who can get to the finish line first.
The reality? It all needs to work together.
My Social Business Lightbulb Moment
I began using social media in 2009 when we moved to Norway and started writing a blog. I got curious. I joined Twitter, focused more on LinkedIn and then suddenly found myself responsible for managing the SAP social media portfolio across EMEA.
For many years I was guilty of using social media as just another marketing tactic. Launch a campaign and then write the obligatory tweets and posts to create some noise. We didn't know any different. However, we quickly realised that social networking is about conversation and people converse with people...not logos.
There was another issue. Marketing and Communications, who typically manage the brand's voice of social media, simply couldn't scale to listen out for every conversation. Even if they could, they didn't have the expertise, specialist knowledge or time to get involved.
Social interactions need to be instant. After all, 42% of customers who contact a company via social media for service and support expect a response within an hour, and 34% expect a response within 30 minutes! (Source: Edison Research)
I had a lightbulb moment.
We needed to shift our social media strategy up a gear. Rather than focusing on channels and posts, we'd focus on mobilising a social business. Focus on putting our employees in front of the logo. Showcasing their expertise by helping them to build their professional brand. Supporting them to create their own content, find conversations online, engage confidently with others but ultimately build influence and credibility online.
Why A Social Business Approach Works Best
- More 'social' ears to the ground
- Reduced content marketing spend - our employees were creating content
- A more authentic, human voice for the brand
- Happier workforce - employees felt invested in when we helped them build their brand
- More referrals - the wider network ignited and relationships were nurtured at scale
- Increased web traffic from employee referrals
You see, when the tribe is activated, the tribal impact is incredible. Perhaps even transformational.
Social Business = Inbound Business
Social Selling won't work without content for the sales team to share. Marketing alone can't create authentic content without the thought leadership of subject matter experts. The business won't be able to hire those subject matter experts if they don't have a strong employer brand that attracts talent.
Social Businesses are fast becoming Inbound Businesses at every single level. They don't push. They attract like a magnet.
Attract customers. Attract talent. Attract partners. Attract investment.
So my message is simple. I totally get why people focus on Social Selling first. It's where the training investment is at its highest, that team is at the front of the customer experience and they often represent the first impression a prospect sees of the brand. That said, don't write off the rest of the organisation. Social business is literally "word of mouth" but in the digital sense of the term. Let every employee contribute.
Focus on building a social business. Not social silos.
Incidentally, I welcome all feedback on the website. If you find an error let me know and I'll donate £2 to Macmillan Cancer Support for every unique error spotted. I'm building a list.