Strategic Factors Created by Social Media

by Jay Deragon on 03/25/2011

Factor analysis, also known as environmental scanning, is a method to analyze the environment in which a business operates. Environmental scanning mainly focuses on the macro environment of a business and personal factors. Whereas context analysis considers the entire environment of a business, its internal and external environment. This is an important aspect of a strategic planning process as businesses enter the social space.

An older method of context analysis, called SWOT analysis, allows the business to gain an insight into their strengths and weaknesses and also the opportunities and threats posed by the market within which they operate.The older method of SWOT analysis does not apply to the context analysis of social technology because of the systemic dynamics of an ever-changing market brought on by the social  medium.


This alteration in the process requires research and analysis of current and future likely factors of the emerging space and said analysis put into context accordingly. When conducting research on the driving factors that influence the social  market many significant factors of influence will emerge and change constantly. When evaluating the  factors, the use of an interrelationship and affinity diagram enables us to sort through the collective meaning of the factors and then categorize them—meaning determine and rank how the categories relate to or influence each other.

The question of relationship between the categories is one of “which drives the other most to least” with subsequent outcomes being out/in arrows. The category with the most out arrows is determined as having the greatest influence on the collective factor outcomes. The analysis is likely to produce different outcomes by individual, organizations or institution in context to their opportunities to leverage their objectives within the emerging space.

This exercise is an example of what each individual, organization, institution and government should be doing as it relates to the emergence of  a networked world.

Each segment may produce different results based on the context of What can we do to leverage social mediums to our advantage?” That question establishes the direction of the above example by shaping the context for analysis. Subsequently the outcomes of these exercises provides the roadmap for prioritization of initiatives, actions or investments aimed at accomplishing the objectives.

The outcomes of these type of analysis and tools can lead to a clear, but ever changing, strategic road map for leveraging social technology with the aim of engaging your market, getting the right kind of attention and creating an affinity of interest to your specific value proposition.

When people and organizations fail to think through the factors, dynamics and the interrelationships of related “social” actions then the outcomes create unexpected results. Unexpected results create reactionary results which in turn simply create more unexpected results. Create then chasing unexpected results creates more cost and increased risk and cost trying to manage actions that have no strategic value because of a lack of thinking and planning. The cycle of destruction is unnecessary but companies and individuals seem to be running in circles trying to fix what shouldn’t have been created in the first place. The crisis of management is due to a lack or leadership in thinking and understanding what all this social stuff is creating.

It is time to think clearly rather than react to results created from a lack of thinking.



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