Steve Nicholls, author of Social Media in Business
, says that senior executives need to embrace social media and integrate it into the DNA of their entire organization. Nicholls offers a list of 10 crucial Cs to lay the foundation for a winning social media strategy.
1. Conversation: Social media, at its core, is a conversation taking place online. People share content in all kinds of forms—words, videos, music, and webinars among many other kinds—between each other. Passive intake of information is not the name of the game any longer; social media instead allows constant interaction and sharing of content between Internet-users.
2. Coordination: Coordinating projects across geographical boundaries and time zones is made much easier by social media. A project manager, for instance, has many business tools that he or she can use to manage and coordinate a project online between different participants, different locations, and different time zones. Social media is like the glue bringing different parts of a project, or different projects, together.
3. Cooperation: Social media pairs very well with cooperation as it allows more cooperation to take place between different participants in a project, job, or office, among other contexts. As we just saw, social media is by definition the sharing of information, this means that by definition, it is a cooperative process, and this cooperative process, transposed onto a business context, has much potential.
4. Communication: Social media creates and enhances communication among a company’s staff, between staff and clients, between sales and customers, and between upper and lower management, to give just a few examples.
5. Collective intelligence: User-generated online content equates to business intelligence for companies. Taking advantage of this information is invaluable leverage and can help a company improve and perform better by accessing new ideas, finding solutions, and getting feedback of its business directly from customers or clients.
6. Communities: Social media allows a company to find, create, and interact with pools of customers, clients, suppliers, and even competitors, among other key players in a given business. Communities can take shape both internally, within a company’s employees for instance, and externally, between a company and its clients for example.
7. Collaboration: Social media helps creating more efficient collaboration between co-workers, partners and stakeholders. Social media facilitates teamwork through a range of tools that can be managed across geographical limits. This can take place between employees, teams and departments, but also between bilateral groups like business/customers, business/suppliers or business/stakeholders.
8. Content: Social media is all about sharing content. Through social media tools, you can create, share, change, and have access to all kinds of content. It is this freedom in generating and sharing content that makes social media so powerful.
9. Context: It is the context that will define how a social media project will take shape. Looking at a company’s business environment, company culture and business goals, for instance, will shape a social media project according to the specific business context in which the company operates.
10. Culture: Culture is a crucial component that will determine how successful a social media project can be. A company culture generally fits somewhere between a closed to open continuum, and the more open it is, the more a company will have the freedom to take advantage of social media.
Steve Nicholls is an international speaker and social media strategist. His book is titled Social Media in Business. For more information: www.socialmediainbusiness.com.