In the coming months and years we will see a new knowledge domain emerging and it will be labeled as “social strategy“. Like every other management mantra of the past defining, developing and executing a “social strategy” will become main stream worldwide. Why? Because the “markets of conversations” will continue to influence how leaders think and what they do. Which ultimately means all things related to strategy will have to change in order to meet and exceed market expectations.
What Will A Social Strategy Encompass?
Since social technology is new there is a lack of knowledge relative to its impact on strategic thinking and the related disciplines. Traditionally strategic thinking has encompassed organizational alignment of key elements present in most organizations. These elements included: organizational design, culture, leadership, management, communications, marketing, technology, human relations, finance and market research. There are a host of subset elements for each of the primary elements but in essence strategy was about development and deployment of a road map that maximized the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire organization.
Methods for developing a strategy have varied over the years but for the most part all relied on the collection and assessment of relevant and relative data which verified and created the strategic direction. Directions were aimed at maximizing performance. Now with the emerging influence of social technology a new element enters into the process of building and deploying effective strategies.
Lets Start With A Definition of “Social Strategy”
Lets try this. A social strategy defines how the organization can better “relate and communicate” with all its constituents. Constituencies includes people (markets, suppliers, customers, investors, society and employees) who interact with the organization, internally and externally.
Because the reach and richness of social technology is new it has never been considered of strategic importance until now. The ability to relate and communicate impacts everything, everyone and at speeds never before experienced. The knowledge domain of these issues simply does not exist but is evolving day by day and the related changes impact everything and everyone.
Planning For A Social Strategy?
It is never to early to begin to make plans before the markets makes the plans for you. Based on our experience and study creating a social strategy begins with mapping out how your organization currently relates and communicates to its constituencies. Additionally it is also of critical importance to conduct relevant research which defines what, how, when, where and why the market may be discussing your organization, its products, services and people. From these two assessments the data collected will help define the vital few issues needing immediate attention and the critical issues needing change over the long term.
Learning is always an element of strategic development and creating a social strategy will require a plan for the entire organization to learn who,what,where,when, why and how to improve “relations and communications” internally and externally.
Strategy is about having a road map to reach strategic objectives. Social strategies is about how to ensure your organization is ready to follow the map effectively and what new knowledge is required. Knowledge about the technology but more importantly knowledge of the inter-related dynamics it creates and the impact those dynamics have on results.
Stay tuned as everyone learns the disciplines and knowledge required to develop and execute a social strategy. Doing so requires a new mind map that is in opposition to business as usual and defines a new road map for business thinking and processes that are unusual. Not having a social strategy means your organization will likely fail in the emerging markets which is quickly replacing all markets. Don’t think so? Then stand by and watch others who do.