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Date posted: July 29, 2013

Aligning social media with B2B business objectives is a challenge for all companies using the tool. According to recent research by the Altimeter Group, the challenge is proving a daunting one indeed:

  • Only 34% of businesses feel that their social strategy is connected to business outcomes.
  • Just 28% of companies felt they have a holistic approach to social media, where lines of business and business functions work together under a common vision.
  • A meager 12% are confident they have a plan that looks beyond the next year.
  • Only half said that top executives were “informed, engaged and aligned with their companies’ social strategy.”

In a recent post on Linked In, Brian Solis, the executive producer at The Pivot Conference, points to why organizations should think in terms of social business strategy:

There’s a difference between a social media and social business strategy. Social media are the channels where information and people are connected via two-way platforms. Social media strategy defines programs specific to networks and the corresponding activity within and around each. Altimeter’s definition of a
successful Social Business Strategy (SBS) is one that aligns with the strategic business goals and has alignment and support throughout the organization.

The post goes on to list seven essential steps for successfully establishing and scaling social media throughout an organization, garnering executive support:

  1. Define the overall business goals.
  2. Establish the long-term vision.
  3. Ensure executive support.
  4. Define the strategy roadmap and identify initiatives.
  5. Establish governance and guidelines.
  6. Secure staff, resources and funding.
  7. Invest in technology platforms that support the greater vision and objectives.

Bottom line, due diligence and hard work must inform any successful social business strategy. Too many companies think that merely having a presence on Facebook or Twitter— falling prey to what the author calls “the shiny object syndrome”— will suffice to successfully leverage the booming social media channel. That’s shortsighted, wrong, and likely to lead to the kind of frustration those lean percentages above indicate.

A good starting point for B2B companies to avoid this: the new
e-book Solis has written with Christine Li, The Seven
Success Factors of Social Business Strategy.