The Little Blue Book of Social Transformation by Brian Solis

Social networks and senior executives. Mostly a difficult combination. Most executives don’t have access to social media. They are focused on the general goals of the organization and have no idea about new media, technology, etc. If you want to convince them, you have to speak their language. You need to show them how social contributes to business goals. Salesforce and Altimeter Group’s Brian Solis recently collaborated on a special project to help leaders understand the true impact of social media, resulting in an engaging free guide called The Little Blue Book for Social Transformation. A guide that can help you convince your management and take the first (or next) step towards a social enterprise.

A true social conversational business goes beyond an online customer service team that only solves problems. A true social enterprise not only wants to solve the (reputational) problem, it also wants to solve the real problem that is causing the problems. As you can see from the table of contents above, the guide doesn’t just focus on customer service or a campaign. The goal is to convince your manager that your business should become a social enterprise. The guide describes 20 principles that guide this change. A brief summary to help you get started with the guide.

Lay the foundation for social success: convey clear benefits to your business, customers and employees

The first phase is certainly not easy, but it lays the foundation for success. Determine what the added value of social is for your business, your customers and your employees. “Give your colleagues a reason to believe” is a good quote for this crucial phase. For these meaningful changes to take effect in your organization, you need allies. So be sure to get help. It is certainly also necessary for the last step of this phase, the creation of a Social Taskforce.

Know your customers like never before: Get social media insights to understand what really matters

Negative sentiment about your business on social media is no fun for a marketer. But the real marketer realizes that social media is almost real-time market research and sees social as a wonderful way to learn about customers and see what your business needs to improve. No more waiting for a report from your market research. With social media, you get direct feedback from (some of) your customers. “Social media is not a nuisance, it’s one of the greatest gifts your business could ask for“.

Connect and collaborate instantly with your colleagues: flatten your organization, discover expertise and improve productivity

This phase concerns the internal organization of your company. These are passionate and engaged employees who share information with each other using internal social media. Make social commitment – internal, external or
both, a criterion to become one of the most successful. Tear down the silos. All employees share, communicate, are open and eager to make new connections through social media.

Build deeper relationships by engaging customers in new ways: Collaborate in real time with customers, prospects, and partners

The previous chapter was about breaking down the silos within your business. This chapter is about breaking down the barriers between your business and your customers. It’s about true collaboration, turning customers and partners into stakeholders. Almost Steven’s definition of customers in his book The Conversation Company”Customers are employees who are not on your payroll”. A previous article can help to better understand how to implement a successful collaboration strategy: 5 pillars for a successful evolution towards a structural collaboration.

Listen and learn from public social networks: gain insights to shape unique experiences for your communities

The final chapter begins with setting up a listening center. My article on social media monitoring tools and listening centers and the Altimeter 2012 report on social media management systems could be helpful in this phase. A listening center, social intelligence center, or command center doesn’t just manage your company’s conversations. The center also transforms the avalanche of social data into valuable information. Information that helps you make your business more customer-centric, modify processes or services if necessary, and improve your online conversations. Ending with creating remarkable online experiences as a social enterprise.

All in all, a nice set of principles to get you and your executive started. Share the guide with someone in your company who can help you. He is your first thinker. One more tip from me that I missed in the guide: set up a reporting system that shows your progress towards KPIs and organizational goals. Remember that executives focus on the overall goals of the organization!