The difference in applying social technologies to existing business operations is not necessarily changing what you do, i.e. communicate with stakeholders, create new value propositions etc., rather it is more about changing how you do things.
Chris Bailey writes: “Most organizations will simply try to lay the latest business fad on top of their current operations and culture. Regardless of whether they implement this innovation with the best of intentions or not, they’ll soon discover that this course of action will lead to failure with a high probability rate.”
“Let’s take social media as a fresh example. Loads of businesses and non-profits are adding social media tools to their everyday work as a way to keep up with progress (or worse, to demonstrate they’re “hip” and “edgy”). They’re creating corporate blogs, podcasts, and vblogs; engaging in communication channels like Twitter; building collaborative pages via wikis and Facebook. I’m not suggesting that there’s anything inherently wrong with any of these activities, but I do argue that simply adding them to your business operations without understanding will expose your organization as a hipster wannabe and leave you thinking that this social media stuff doesn’t work after all.
What Is The Cost of Failure?
The irony of the social media space is that doing the wrong things and doing things wrong is immediately transparent to the world, your customers, your employees and your entire market. Launching any number of social initiatives can be a risky proposition if the intent isn’t well defined and integrated into the organizations overall strategy, both for the short and long term.
In fact launching a social media initiative can make a bad situation worse or take a good situation and turn it bad very quickly. Any social media initiative ultimately touches all elements of a business in which people interact, in other words everything.
While technology plays a role within any social media initiative it is the least important role. The most important Socialution is “how” any initiative will be perceived as either taking away or adding value to people. For instance:
- Does the initiative help people resolve problems or does it just mask problems?
- Is the initiative tied directly to improving peoples experience with your business operations?
- Have all the stakeholders (employees, customers, markets etc.) been made aware of and understand the purpose a social media initiative?
- What are the key metrics of measurement for measuring the impact of any initiative?
- Are social media initiatives aligned with other initiatives and tactic that aim at a common strategic purpose?
The list could go on but by now we hope we made our point.
While tactically speaking much of any social initiative requires a ready, fire, aim approach the overriding objectives need to be anchored in a more logical ready, aim, fire approach that is systemically tied to the overall objectives of the organization. Otherwise failure can cost a lot more than the cost of any social media initiative. Word of mouth spreads fast throughout the social web so do social failures.
Get it? What say you?