When you write about the state of social business, like we do, it’s hard to notice the little things taking shape within the enterprise. At Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration, those little things are taking center stage and making a big impression. Something caught my attention about how companies are approaching two familiar platforms: Web Content Management and Social Media.

The Evolution of Web Content Management

During Web Content Management: Strategies for Customer Engagement, Mark Gilbert walked us through marketing trends, emerging web content management technologies and best practices for implementing an engaging web channel. Because the web/desktop is no longer the primary first step, companies must ensure that all experiences are usable across devices. As such, web content management has become synonymous with multi-channel engagement and has moved beyond publishing content to focus on driving dynamic conversations.

Good portals have good web content management built into them. And good web content management integrates multiple abilities -- usability, consumerability, and interoperability. At present, most companies use the web as a prospecting platform, but they should be focusing their attention on business integration and transformation. In other words, what you are getting out of your web content management? What relationships have been formed as a result?

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The web content management market provides opportunities that can contribute to business success.  

The Evolution of Social Media

Later that afternoon, I attended The Why and How of Social Media Policies with Jeffrey Mann, who strategically outlined the ways companies can construct a social strategy that effectively manages and protects companies in the social sphere. We’ve come a long way in the past few years. It seems like only yesterday that we were talking about the need for social media policies and now look at us --we’re actually doing it.

All social media policies need to start with the basics. Life on social media doesn’t negate existing business policies, nor does it speak for itself. It’s important to discuss case studies, address popular and negative examples and learn what not to do. Social doesn’t apply to all topics as not everything is worth talking about. Outlining hot topics can help employees better understand what’s worth talking about and what’s off limits. Finally, a social media policy can’t possibly cover every existing do and don’t, so it’s helpful to provide users with constructive outlets for learning and discussion.

Additionally, Mann recommends defining roles and responsibilities as they relate to social media. Just as different employees have different roles, not all employees will have an active role in contributing to a company’s social media campaign.

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Because people perform different tasks, one policy will not represent everyone.

Many Initiatives, One Common Strategy

Mann’s strategies for what to include in social media policy are eerily similar to those outlined for web content management. It’s all about having clear goals, intentions and purpose, understanding the terms and categories in which you are building and allowing enough room to evolve alongside changing media, rules and behaviors.

Coincidence? We think not. It’s on purpose. Each initiative requires clarity on both part of the company and the user. Without clear goals and messaging, web content management and social media will do little to advance business objectives in the marketplace and certainly won't meet the needs of its customers.