At Wednesday’s #socbizchat TweetJam, we discussed the core elements, challenges and opportunities of social business. Lest you think this was just more of the same about how the enterprise needs to embrace collaboration and social engagement to become more successful, you obviously weren’t paying attention.

What started out as a simple chat soon evolved into a powerful think tank full of ideas, insights and lots of fodder for upcoming articles. When it comes to combining community managers and social business strategists, one thing is for certain -- it’s never business as usual.

When I Say Business, You Say Social

That in fact was one of the first a-ha moments of the chat -- we keep calling it social business, but if it’s ever to really catch on, social needs to become an intrinsic part of what we simply call 'business.'

Before we got there, however, we spent some time figuring out what the core elements of social business were and the first steps to getting there before we began to put it all together.

Core Elements 

First Steps

@themaria Q2: There isn't a step-by-step guide to becoming social. It's an evolution :) I think you need to share a vision & commit.
@buckleyplanet Q2 you MUST go into it with a business purpose in mind, metrics to measure success, clearly defined roles for your people
@erikmhartman Q2 1st step to #socbiz is: just do something. experiment and learn
@themaria Q2: If you don't share vision of being customer-centric/employee-centric, u can do some small things but they won't have impact
@jshuey The old maxim of "What Gets Measured Gets Done" applies to #SocBiz ... if's it's important ... Measure it!
@rhappe Q2 - you only participate in #socbiz if it does something more effecienty or effectively than you've done it in the past
@billycripe Q2: first steps to SocBiz: realize there is a decent level of effort (and cost) that goes along with the grind

You Can Lead a Business to Social, But You Can't Make Them Engage

Once we were able to identify the necessary principles and characteristics of what it means to be a social business and the steps needed to make it happen, we opened up about the challenges we must overcome. As necessary as it is to shift the culture of an organization to accept, adopt and adapt to social elements, it’s almost as vital to have the right leadership in place. The right leaders don’t just make it easier to implement or integrate enterprise collaboration or customer service, it’s essential to promoting the people, process and technology.

If you’re a member of the C-suite or starting your own company, you may want to pay close attention. In fact, if you want your leaders to really get it, might I suggest copying, printing and pasting the following tweets to their wall.


@markfidelman Q3: Command and Control leadership, followed by Short Sleeve, Fat Tie, Middle Managers
@tahoeob Q3 Once again the context here has to be internal community readiness versus external social buisiness
@themaria Q3: Biggest challenge is readiness to face the good and the bad, and learn that the bad is not bad but an oppty. Need to reframe
@billycripe Q3 biggest challenge SocBiz: Follow Through. It's a trek.
@buckleyplanet Q3 depends on your business goals. Customer support will have diff issues than partner engagement
@robhoward Q3 No one technology "enables social" it is an integrated set of experiences
@deb_lavoy q3 putting together the "why". and as @markfidelman said the cognitive dissonance btwn command and control & whats next
@rhappe Allowing humanness into processes introduces ambiquity & it is messy. We currently hav biz cultures that want perfection & plans
@juliebhunt Q3 - taking an organization into 'social biz' is not an initiative, it's a head-to-toe transformation
@sympmarc RT @helloitsliam: #socbizchat Q2: Give all business users facebook, linkedin & google+, see how much money you will make from that? Isn't that Social? > NOPE
@juliebhunt Q3 - not only knocking down silos internally, taking down silos between social biz Inside & Outside - connecting, communicating
@MartinSS Like “@yaacovc: Q3) There is no Social Business without a Social CEO

For most, it was obvious to isolate the things leaders and businesses must do to make social easier to embrace. The solutions offered don’t require lots of money or tactical reorganization. It comes down to culture and how social, and its benefits, are perceived.

Show Me the Metrics

But of course, leaders want/need to show that social business works. They need hard numbers that positively show something -- anything. As we’ve said time and again, there isn’t just one concrete stat or metric to follow. If there was, there would be no need for #socbizchats. So, for the sake of argument, what 3 metrics are most useful for establishing change velocity?

First what’s change velocity?

Now, what are the 3 metrics?

@CoreMedia_News Q4 Focus on increased levels of engagement, improved content reuse, increased relevance of content, more focus
@netskyf RT @juliebhunt: Value & 'metrics' aren't always related to quantitive - social has lots of key qualitative returns that matter
@CoreMedia_News Q4 Don’t get too fixated on usage statistics alone – not all social activity is productive activity
@tahoeob Q4 when you frame the business benefits it will change by use case but again the metrics can be found, baselined and analyzed
@kimberlymccabe @cmswire 3 metrics that help measure change in velocity: conversions, engagement scores, and growth of social community
@deb_lavoy q4 the right metric depends on the challenge at hand. what is the challenge? the goal? therein lies the metric
@erikmhartman 3 metrics 4 change in #socbiz: 1. make it successful, people will join 2. emphasize the fun factor 3. let people be responsible
@deb_lavoy q4 note also that metrics help learning, they don't make good goals in themselves
@mor_trisha A4: Metrics for change velocity: 1) Are people using it (social)? 2) Success stories 3) Deals closed / deadlines met faster
@rhappe One of the harder things about measurement of#SocBiz is it has an offset return... takes a while to build trusted relationships
@pmpinsights Q4: Social Metrics depend on the specific use case. Cust support? Marketing Campaigns? Communities? Internal collaboration?
@krcraft RT @themaria: A4 Not sure metrics is what we need to focus on. It's business results. Can't measure transformation in a metric.
@billycripe Q4: metrics are still good benchmarks: reach, click-through, downloads, time saved. Look to supply chain methodology for hints.
@deb_lavoy q4: social biz success is as yet a bit like pornography. we can't nec define it but we know it when we see it (sorry Deb, had to throw that one in there)

Okay, so we tried, but we learned a valuable lesson in the process -- You can’t force it. Metrics will develop based on your goals, and therein lies the biggest, more important step -- knowing what you hope to accomplish by being a social business? What added value will it bring to the way you engage with employees, customers, stakeholders?

To Be Social Is To Be Human

Now, it may seem that we have come full circle. We’re no better off than when we started -- but I beg to differ. The exercise of answering these four questions may have helped us become more in tune with the essence of social business. The next time we’re hard pressed to come up with hard evidence demonstrating the merit of social business, we’ll remember that it’s different for everyone.

However, this isn’t to say that 2012 is destined to be a chronic loop of questions 1-4. No, many of you have great hopes and ambitions for social business.

@juliebhunt Q5 - remembering there are a lot of orgs out there who haven't a clue what "social business" is > miles to travel..
@tahoeob Q5 Social Business has now been endorsed as good business practice. There will be an early majority adopting across industries
@kimberlymccabe @cmswire Q5 biggest opportunity is for marketers to identify return on marketing investment #romi via social engagement
@TalentAnalytics Q5: Biggest #SocBiz opportunity in 2012? A: Adding richness to social #collaboration platforms. Shortening time to insight.
@buckleyplanet Q5 I think we've answered this -- find its fit within your culture, and build a strategy
@ChrisClark005 Q5 - Social media to lose it's reputation as marketing tool. To be understood as a cultural change
@lehawes Q5: 2012 will be about gaining scale effects of enterprise-wide adoption of social practices and tools.

Thanks for all who participated, listened and retweeted during our TweetJam. We hoped you enjoyed it as much as we did. You can be sure to see some of the recurring themes in upcoming articles as we continue to shed light on the elements of social business.

To get the full archive of the one hour chat, check it out here.

Until next time…