4 steps to a successful social business strategy

There are some notable social technology success stories such as BestBuy's Twelpforce. But, while each isolated approach to using social technologies may be successful, when taken as a whole, these tactical solutions fail to capitalise on the full potential of social technologies to transform business strategy.

Flattened organisations built around social connections that focus on solving business and customer challenges are replacing old hierarchical organisations. In these new social organisations, employees are adapting technology used at home to help solve these business and customer challenges.

CIOs and CMOs need to come together to help the executive team create a people-based approach aimed at meeting business objectives by changing the way in which these networked people communicate about, and derive value from, products and services.

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A mistake many people make is to start with social technology. In fact technology should be the last step in the strategy development process. Instead, develop a social business strategy by following Forrester's POST sequence, which looks to people first, then objectives, strategy next, and lastly technology:

1 People: assess the social maturity and needs of employees and customers
One of the biggest obstacles to successfully incorporating social technologies is underestimating the people factor, which may seem surprising, since by definition, social applies to people. But, without a thorough understanding of the expectations and experience of the workforce and the customer, it will be very difficult to develop an effective strategy.

This means the first step in developing a social strategy is assessing the employees, customers, and suppliers of the business to determine what social media tools they already use.