The growing pains of becoming a Social Business

Getting buy in from the top

One of the biggest growing pains is getting buy in from C-suite so let’s take a look at the case for social media:

Social media has fundamentally changed the way we do business, how we research and choose to make our purchasing decisions, regardless of B2B or B2C because it’s all H2H – human to human.

Social media is not just a handful of social networks, like LinkedIn, facebook, twitter etc, it’s any where on line where people can interact and share their opinion or voice. When you think about it in those terms, it’s pretty much the internet, it’s your digital marketing and it should permeate every aspect of your business objectives.

Changing our buying decisions

Think of the last app you downloaded and remember how the 5 star rating influenced your decision on either continuing to download the app – or if a specific one wasn’t recommended to you – on selecting the most appropriate app for what you wanted. We rely on a bunch of strangers collective opinions to shape our decisions.

And it doesn’t matter if it’s an app, a washing machine, a yacht or a financial product, an investment it’s affects all of our buying decisions.

Moment of Truth

Back in Jan 2012 Google published their paper called ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth). …..“When someone wants to find out more about a subject, a product, a service, they go online and so they go on a journey of discovery: about a product, a service, an issue, an opportunity, an investment….” This is the Zero Moment of Truth.

Previously in marketing terms there was the First Moment of Truth – broadly speaking this is when you’re in a shop, a supermarket lets say, and your deciding on which brand of toothpaste to buy. The Second Moment of truth is how you’ve experienced the product or service and when you’re back in the supermarket looking for toothpaste again, do you decide to go for the same brand again, or try something different.

Today however, first we have the ZMOT: and with it, its power to help shoppers make great decisions and its power to help companies tell their stories at the moment of highest impact and social media is providing a lot of this content.

Data revealed that the average shopper used 10.4 sources of information to make a decision in 2011, up from 5.3 sources in 2010, specifically Google and Shopper Sciences partnered to reveal the Zero Moments of Truth for the financial investment category and found that consumers research for two weeks or longer seeking an average of 8.9 sources of information.

Importantly, while shoppers are using a wide array of sources, ZMOT is the most dominant at 94% of investment shoppers engaging in ZMOT.

The first impression of your brand and quite potentially the final impression can, and often does, happen on line. Today if you’re not using digital you are not behind your competition, you are not behind the technology, you are lagging behind your consumers behaviour.

Corporate Blogging

Let’s take a look at the benefits behind social and in this case specifically at corporate blogging, (stats thanks to Kurtosys). When talking about blogging we’re referring to written content, images, infographs, podcasts, video etc, ie the content you can create to show up in searches at a persons Zero Moment of Truth.

Create something useful, engaging and shareworthy

When a corporate blog is done consistently and mapped to larger business objectives, the benefits to these corporates is hard to ignore.

Brands that create 15 Blog posts per month average 1,200 new leads per month. Blogs on company sites results in 55% more visitors. Interesting content is in the top 3 reasons people follow brands.

Of consumers who said they have a relationship with a brand 64% cited shared valued, only 13% cited frequent interactions with the brand.

It’s not just your customers whose impressions are being form by social media, key data points to increased employee benefits and loyalty within firms where the CEO has embraced social media.

Social media impacts every aspect of a company. Today you might be lagging behind your consumers, clients and prospects, tomorrow you’ll also be behind lagging behind the workforce. Attracting the right people to your company is already being impacted by the social maturity of a firm.

Transitioning through the steps

But of course for a company to become socially mature – it needs to transition through a series of steps. There needs to be a cultural shift in thinking across individuals and departments, rewriting a lot of policy and rules to integrate social across the board. This is naturally going to take time, effort and energy, it’s going to take resources.

It needs the buy in from not just marketing, but compliance, legal, HR and especially the C- Suite.

I’ve heard it said that social media is not a sprint it’s a marathon, and the gun went off years ago. And while that might be true it’s mature enough to be taken seriously, to learn from the experience of others, but not to have absolutely the best practices.   The standard for the enterprise integration of social media is still being drawn.

Social Maturity Steps

Hootsuite defined the steps as:

  1. Social Advocate – a lone voice in the company determined to bring social media into their deparment, usually marketing or PR. The social advocate can only do so much
  2. Social Teams – as more individuals support the social advocate a social team emerges, typically they are departmentally focused and often emerge is silos.
  3. Social Business – once your social teams have spread so you have a number of teams operating in separate departments you’re on your way to becoming a social business
  4. Social Enterprise – operating across cultures, good governing policy for your social engagement that empowers your teams to engage directly with your audience, clients, prospects alike. Collaboration across the departments and social media and digital are infused across the board.

A significant sign of the social maturity of a company is the way an organisation handles the socially native concepts of openness and transparency.

As Dr Stephen Covey famously said, Start with the End in Mind, the end goal in this case being a social business or enterprise. When business first adopted social media they didn’t realise how impactful it was going to be across all departments including internal dialogue as well as externally. Learn from this.

Get Creative – look outside of the sector for inspiration and great practice. Engage with software providers – it’s worth getting a demo of a handful just to get ideas of how others are using social and the features and functionality built around it.

Conclusion

The importance of social media is not lost on us. In a recent survey with PAMInsights which comprised mostly of Wealth Managers and Private banks showed 73% of these firms were going to increase their presence on social media, none of them were going to decrease it.

But 64% said their biggest concern was a lack of resources. It’s imperative then that C Suite are engaged, buy in and are committed to this process. This is where we’re really struggling in the finance sector. Until such time as the proper resources are given to social media and digital companies are going to struggle in their path to becoming socially mature.

 

Gregarious, happy, problem solving, natural connector who once was told she could “Network in a Graveyard” and is still unsure about the comment. Previously an IFA herself and immersed in social media Bridget shares with advisers, planners, brokers and providers how to get the most out of social media and attract new clients.

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